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25 October 2019 | in NUSF News, Rugby

It got a little muddy – U of Johannesburg follows up national success with continental crown

Continental champions of Africa, University of Johannesburg

Fresh off the back of winning their local Varsity Rugby Sevens tournament earlier this month, South Africa’s University of Johannesburg took that winning formula abroad by winning the inaugural Kings Africa Rugby Sevens Championship in impressive fashion.


Organised by The Federation of Africa University Sports (FASU), the tournament was hosted in the Ugandan capital Kampala at Makerere University, one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Africa.


The competition – the first of its kind – took place over the weekend of 19-20 October and saw ten teams from four different countries take part.


These included hosts Makerere University, alongside four other Ugandan universities, namely Kyambogo University, Makerere University Business School, Uganda Christian University and Uganda Martyrs University.

Three teams from neighbouring Kenya were present, including Kenyatta University, Kibabii University and United States International University, while the two teams representing southern Africa were Botswana International University of Science and Technology from Botswana, and University of Johannesburg (UJ) from South Africa.


Among the invited guests was FASU President Nomsa Mahlangu, who addressed all those in attendance at ‘The Graveyard’ – as the field at Makerere University is known – before Day 1’s action got underway.


The ten teams were split into two pools, with University of Johannesburg, Kenyatta University, Makerere University Business School, Uganda Martyrs University and Kibabii University forming Pool A, while United States International University, Botswana International University of Science and Technology, Kyambogo University and Uganda Christian University joined hosts Makerere University in Pool B.


UJ and Uganda Martyrs University had the honour of squaring off in the first match of the day, with UJ dotting down twice to secure a 10-0 victory – but that was just the start.


The ‘Orange Machine’, as they are nicknamed, had just two weeks earlier stormed to local Rugby Sevens glory with a resounding 20-0 victory over University of Stellenbosch in the final, and as they had done on their own turf, the team from Johannesburg were merciless in attack and rigid in defence in Uganda. Over the four Pool A matches played, the orange-clad athletes did not have their defence breached once as they swatted Kibabii University aside 20-0, romped to a 36-0 victory over Kenyatta University before ending the day with a resounding 52-0 win over Makerere University Business School (MUBS) to ease their way into the following day’s knockout stage.

 Action from the Kings Africa tournament

In Pool B, hosts Makerere, buoyed by the home crowd, were the in-form team, recording three wins and a thrilling 7-7 draw against Kenya’s United States International University to remain undefeated while topping their table.


In Sunday’s quarterfinals, UJ continued where they left off, earning a 42-0 victory over MUBS to ease their way into the last four, as did Makerere University, who were 17-7 victors over Uganda Christian University.


Rounding off the semifinal slots were Uganda Martyrs University, who edged Kenyatta University 17-12, and United States International University from Kenya, who beat Kyambogo University 10-0.


The University of Johannesburg were relentless in their 22-0 win over United States International University in the first semi-final, while hosts Makerere were unable to make home advantage count as they were beaten 12-0 by Uganda Martyrs University, who marched on to the final.


Makerere did salvage some pride by earning the bronze medal with a 10-0 victory over United States International University, yet the undisputed champions were the University of Johannesburg, their final 12-0 victory over Uganda Martyrs University meaning they did not conceded a single try the entire tournament on their way to being crowned the first Kings Africa Rugby Sevens Championship winners.

 It might get muddy - more action from the Rugby Sevens pitch during the Kings Africa tournament

Vice Chancellor of the Makerere University Mr Barnabas Nawangwe congratulated the South African side on their victory while also revealing his delight at the home team’s result.


“I congratulate the University of Johannesburg on emerging Champions of the first Kings of Africa University Rugby 7s hosted at Makerere Rugby Grounds “Graveyard”,” he wrote via his social media handles.


“I also congratulate Makerere Impis on emerging third and winning us bronze.”


Images courtesy of Henry Nsekuye