John Duncan reacts to Rugby Cranes underwhelming Gold Cup campaign

© Kawowo Sports | AISHA NAKATO
Uganda Rugby Cranes head coach John Duncan

Uganda Rugby Cranes – as largely expected – had an underwhelming campaign in the 2018 Africa Gold Cup.

Uganda finished third in the six-team tournament that also doubled as the 2019 Rugby World Cup qualifiers, having won two games and lost four.

Head coach John Duncan given his assessment of the performance which was a decline compared to last year’s where they finished in the same place but with three wins, one draw and just one loss to champions Namibia.

Duncan blamed the decline in performance to the absence of several senior players as Brian Odong, Alex Mubiru, Mathias Ochow, Scot Olouch and Lawrence Ssebuliba who didn’t play any part in the campaign.

“Veteran players are important in the team and when we lost them we experienced a huge setback. They should at least be around to inspire the young boys,” Duncan told Rugby Nation Uganda.

Uganda faced naturally superior sides – Kenya and Namibia – away from home on successive weekends in the opening two fixtures – losing both, and the South African says it cannot get any tougher.

“Playing week in week out is not easy especially if you are travelling. The players get exhausted yet this is a top tier.

“That was a hard start to the campaign and it affected us a lot,” Duncan said.

Duncan believes his young side that struggled in set pieces and played with slippery hands can only get better having found comfort playing in front of home fans, save for the game against Zimbabwe.

“Everybody enjoyed playing in front of friends and family and the home fixtures justified that.

“We have one of the youngest team in the top tier and there much room for improvement. I am happy because most of these players will be around in four years to come and they will be on another level.”

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