What’s up teams ? – Africa Cup 1A is coming and will start with the clash : Uganda v Namibia in Kampala. For the occasion, we asked some questions to Phil Davies, Namibia’s coach since last year and John Ducan, Uganda’s coach.
(Rugby Africa) – How is the Namibian team doing following the World Cup ? :
(Phil Davies) Team is working hard and looking forward to the challenges over the next few years.
– Your team went through some significant changes lately, the most important seems to be Jacques Burger’s retirement and obviously your appointment as national coach. How is everyone adjusting ? :
Jacques Burger is an obvious loss, but we have some good young players coming through. We are all adjusting very well to the changes
– You showed promising potential during the RWC, especially against huge teams as the All Blacks, so don’t you think this Africa Cup is only a formality ? :
We had some positive performances at RWC ; but the African cup is an almighty challenge for us with some very good teams to play
– Do you believe the African slot in the 2019 RWC is yours already ? :
Not at all there is much hard work to be done.
(Rugby Africa) – Last year you were in the pool B, this opening game will also be the first for you, how do you prepare for it ? :
(John Duncan) As a rugby playing nation Uganda are excited to be back and competing in the top tier of Rugby Africa. Our preparations have been good and the team have just returned from South Africa after a 10 day tour to the Free State Rugby Union. The team was able to participate in two games in the republic. The team also got to work with some of the coaches from the host union.
– However you’re no stranger in the pool A as you have been playing on and off in pool A over the last couple of years. What has been missing for Uganda to secure its slot in pool A ? :
What has transpired in the past I am unable to comment on, however at this stage there are many positive developments that have taken place over the last couple of years. Firstly the establishment of a relationship with Free State Rugby has allowed for an exchange of coaching ideas, which has allowed local coaches to work with some of their counter parts down south. The union has been proactive in putting in structures to ensure the future success of the sport by growing the game and running efficient development programmes.
– What would you like to change this year to ensure you remain this pool A ? What is the aim in the long term ? Do you believe to the RWC 2019 qualifications ? :
We have a young, exciting group of players, who are extremely keen to emulate the feats of the 2007 Rugby Cranes team. Whilst we are going into the competition with our eyes wide open we are going onto the field to compete and win. This is not merely an exercise to survive in 1A, but a concerted effort to win every game. As previously mentioned the average age of this squad is very young and if we can keep this core group of players together this bodes well for Uganda Rugby. The ultimate aim would be to represent Africa at the 2019 Rugby world Cup, but for now the focus is one game at a time, till we achieve this.