Guinness Uganda and the Uganda Rugby Union continue their partnership for an even bigger series this year. After last year’s 5 circuits, most of which were managed below par with claims of funding being used up half way the series – the duo are back with an extensive 8 circuit showcase.
The series will feature visits to Western and Eastern Uganda in a bid to get other regions of the country more involved in the sport. This year will also feature a flood light circuit for all those that love night time rugby.
A new three year contract by 7’s enthusiasts Guinness Uganda along with an increase in the number of circuits seems like a step in the right direction but what does this actually mean for the sport going forward :-
- More actions for fans and well wishers of the sport – it’s been long since there was some local rugby ; the 7’s will be welcomed greatly.
- Better sponsorship deal – with better planning this year (hopefully), rugby gets to showcase, bringing in regions that had been left out of the limelight for sometime. This is a good opportunity to unveil new teams and give them exposure against the country’s top sides which will build the player base needed for the league and national team.
- More exposure – for years, soccer has beaten rugby by simply covering all corners of the country which explains the mammoth popularity it has. It is time rugby stopped being taken as a small sport, the fraternity needs to gain attention from regions initially untapped. This year’s series sets a stepping stone for this growth.
- An opportunity for teams to test their depth and new recruits – The sevens circuits usually the beginning of a long club rugby season in Uganda. What better way for clubs to test their structures, new recruits, get players to gel before the commencement of the Uganda Cup and league.
- Create a depth for 7’s Rugby in Uganda – Much as eyes are usually on the 15’s code of the sport, 7’s present a unique opportunity for Uganda’s internationally. With the meagre player numbers, the country has been able to win back to back Africa 7’s titles, feature at the HSBC World series, get shots at qualification to be a core member and a slot at the Rugby 7’s World cup this year. Closer attention should be accorded to the code – this year’s series gives chance to the scouting of new players and getting more players accustomed to the 7’s fold.
- A chance to attract new sponsors – Rugby has lost out on sponsorships simply because the custodians of the sport treat it as an amateur venture. Rugby is heading towards full commercialization and professionalism in Uganda – the increased number of circuits is a good way to start. Sponsors can feel more comfortable investing in the sport knowing their brand shall be showcased for 8 weekends that target even upcountry areas rather than a mere 4 or 5 that focus on the central region.
- Restore fitness to players that have been off season – many players that didn’t get the nod to join either 7’s or 15’s training squads most likely resorted to have a rest. However this year, the sport is in a conundrum where we have a Gold cup / rugby world cup 15’s campaign to take part in whereas preparing for the 7’s world cup too; the current set of players fall in both categories which raises the chance of players being susceptible to burn out and injury. When these happen (God forbid), we shall need the remainder from their clubs to be ready to grab the mantle. The 7’s present this opportunity to get them set.
With that said, this weekend presents the first of 8 circuits hosted by the Hima cement Heathens at Kyadondo. The blue army of KOBS will be out to consolidate themselves and forget the woes of the 15’s league with more 7’s silverware. Buffaloes, Rams and Pirates will have a strong say about it this year while the warriors hope to rebuild as quick as possible following departure of many of their players to other clubs.
RUGBY SEASON IS BACK!!!!