This past Saturday, the Rugby cranes held on to earn a hard fought victory from Dakar and with it a top of the table spot in the Gold cup pending results from this coming weekend’s matches.
Our observations from Dakar ;
It is clear the Rugby cranes don’t have white line fever. They know how to find and score tries, a lot of credit should go to the coaches for the combinations set up that seem to be ticking.
Brian Odongo and his pack have displayed enormous industry in their play, arguably the reason for Uganda’s success is due to their efforts often getting Uganda beyond the gain line and setting up Magomu and his backs in areas of good territory. The forwards have been the stand out in this Rugby Cranes force.
This however poses a challenge to the back line, Magomu and his boys looked off colour against Senegal, slower than usual. Could it be attributed to the conditions……? Only the players can respond to that but nonetheless we have to keep in mind that the forwards are the engine and the backs are the wheels, they surely have to be at par to ensure proper functionality.
Much as the cranes have shown dexterity in scoring tries and enterprise in their style of play, challenges still loom large; Game management is still an obstacle for our progress, the team seems to be conceding immediately having scored at the other end. There is a need to learn how to win smart, how to consolidate leads and see off games.
Whatever they choose to do, it has to sink in as quickly as possible, more organized opponents in Tunisia, Namibia and Zimbabwe approach. Being at home is an advantage however it isn’t going to be a hand out, we need to stay cautious, calculative and focused on the task at hand.
We would urge our beloved team to take note ;
Continuity with the current game plan, the Cranes have exhibited an exciting brand of rugby that has impressed, shocked and captured many admirers, not forgetting it has seen us leap to 38th in the IRB rankings. More of the same with small tweaks here and there and surely the class of 2017 will emulate their predecessors of 2007.
Emphasis on territory and how we react to said territory, the chase is as good as the kick, Rugby 101.
How the team reacts having put points on board is essential, the last two games have shown a trend of throwing away leads that are quite healthy, the players need to be mentored on calmness and how to control these situations, as much as territory is key, possession is paramount; the opposition can’t score without the ball, territory can get us in good positions from which we can effect successive waves of possession thus frustrating the opposition into panic mode leading to penalties and rash decisions that will open up gaps for more scoring chances.
Discipline, the penalty count has to continue to drop. The boys should be taught when it is and when it isn’t necessary to engage in the breakdown. Decision making is the thin line that separates discipline from indiscipline. Players need to know when they can challenge and when they should be patient, absorb pressure and await the right opportunity. Not forgetting the need to avoid cynical acts that can cost the team.
Defence ; at times the defensive pattern looked to be in shambles. Special mention goes out to the 50 cap warrior, Mathias Ochwo, who showed some ruthless defending but as a defensive unit there seemed to be an issue, emphasis should be put on moulding the defence as a Chain system. Failure to do so only tires players who make countless tackles without the required organization necessary.
RUGBY CRANES , WE GO!!!