Uganda Lady Rugby Cranes endured a losing start to the Africa Women’s 15s (Rugby Africa Women’s Cup) in Johannesburg, South Africa after falling to hosts 89-5 on Friday.
The team was flagged off for the tournament that runs from August 9-17 on Tuesday at Kyadondo rugby grounds by Uganda Rugby Union (URU) Executive Committee members led by President Godwin Kayangwe Arinaitwe as well as officials from sponsors Toyota-Uganda.
Whereas Lady Cranes Assistant Coach Leonard Rwitare oozed confidence at team flag off, her side get down 62-0 by half time with South Africa dominating the game from start.
Rights Mkhari stole the show in the first-half for the hosts with her three tries in the first 20 minutes. Zintle Mpupha (brace), Eloise Webb, Yonela Ngxingolo, Ayanda Malinga and Sinazo Mcatshulwa also grabbed tries.
Pressure mounted on the Lady Cranes after the restart as Webb bagged her hat-trick and Mcatshulwa grabbed a brace, while Snenhlanhla Shozi added her name to the score sheet.
Uganda fought back towards the end of the game and they scored a try through Samiya Ayikoru, but Shozi grabbed her brace to seal South Africa’s emphatic 89-5 win over Uganda.
Lady Cranes only main build up tournament to the continental show piece that also acts as the 2021 Women’s World Cup Qualifier, was the Elgon Cup which they lost 79-19 in aggregate against Kenya.
The tournament is played on round-robin format and the winner will qualify directly for the World Cup while the runners up will play a match against a selected team from South America for a ticket to the global repechage tournament.