By Ali Mutanje
The Emirates Invitational 7s is a competitive training camp where 14 international rugby teams including Uganda participated from 26th March to 11th April. The competition took place in Dubai at the home of the Emirates Dubai 7s, The Sevens Stadium.
The competitive camp which included two tournament weekends was supported by the wider Emirates Group. The tournament was organized to prep teams for the 2021 Olympic games.
The tournaments took place on the first two weekends of April 2021.
Teams faced off according to their groups on day one and later on the second day, they play a main cup quarter final from which teams proceed to the main cup semi final if they win or the plate semifinal and later play a playoff if they cannot win the matches in normal time.
Day One , Tournament 1
Uganda was pooled in the blue pool with Argentina, Canada and Japan and they had to face those teams in that order.
Uganda lost against Argentina in the first game of the day.
They went on to play the second game against Canada and Japan and lost both.
Argentina 38-14 Uganda
Canada 40-05 Uganda
Japan 19-12 Uganda.
Uganda’s major weakness was seen in the second half where they couldn’t hold on to any first half advantage in any game. They led 14-12 in the first half against Argentina and went on to lose 38-14 by full time. The same could be seen in the subsequent two games where they fairly competed in the first half and struggled to cope with their opponents in the second.
Uganda were to face France from another pool in their next game on day two of the tournament in what was to be a quarter final from which they would proceed to play a semi final and to the final if they won or a play off for positions.
Day Two, Tournament 1
A loss to France in the Cup Quarter final meant Uganda would need to win the Plate Semifinal to get their first win and also proceed to play in the final of the Plate. They went on and lost to Canada in the second game and could only play in the playoffs for a 7/8th position against Spain. Their first win came against Spain in the playoff and they managed to finish 7th overall in a group of 8.
Game 1 Cup Quarter Final: Uganda 07-45 France
Game 2 Plate Semifinal : Canada 38-07 Uganda
Game 3 7/8th Place Playoff: Spain 19-24 Uganda
As the organization is, teams are grouped in pools and play three matches on the first day. The second day is for a main cup quarter final where the teams later play the plate semifinal from which they play a playoff or plate final. Uganda was in the pooled with Kenya,Spain and Canada. They heavily lost their first two games against Kenya and Spain and narrowly lost to Canada leaving them with no win in the first day again.
Kenya 28-10 Uganda
Spain 26-07 Uganda
Canada 24-21 Uganda
A main quarter final loss against France meant Uganda were thrown out of the main cup and had to play for the Plate in the Semi final against Japan where they won in extra time to face Kenya in the fifth placed playoff where they heavily lost.
Main Cup Quarterfinal: France 33-07 Uganda
Plate Semifinal: Uganda 24-19 Japan (Extra Time)
5th Place Playoff: Uganda 05-36 Kenya
However they finished in sixth place because the win came earlier in the plate semifinal.
List of involved players and coaches for the Emirates Invitational 7s.
Samuel Asiimwe (physio)
Tolbert Onyango (coach)
Kasasa Yayiro (7s attache )