Uganda Sevens coach relishes facing giants Fiji in Commonwealth Games

Michael Wokorach of Uganda. Tom Dulat/Getty Images

Uganda Rugby Sevens coach Tolbert Onyango is looking forward to facing Olympic Games champion Fiji at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

"Playing a top team like Fiji who have been playing top-level sevens rugby for many years will be a great opportunity for our team to go and try to prove a point, but also to learn some tricks," Onyango told KweseESPN after the draw on Thursday.

2017 Africa Sevens Championship winner Uganda has been placed in Group D alongside Fiji, Wales and Sri Lanka for the Commonwealth Games rugby showpiece taking place 13-15 April on the Gold Coast, Australia.

But said Onyango, a former Kenya international, the first hurdle will be the Hong Kong Sevens which will present Uganda with an opportunity to become one of the top 15 teams to play in the Sevens Series. The event takes place from 6-8 April, a week before the Commonwealth Games in Australia.

In qualifying for the World Series, Uganda stand to benefit a lot in terms of exposure and development.

"Qualifying for the series means the team will be travelling all the time to play at top-level tournaments, 21 players get insurance and financial support from World Rugby and also more financial support from the local sponsors," he said.

Focusing on the Olympic gold medal winner, Onyango said Fiji have a trade-mark style and have been world leaders in sevens rugby for a long time. "It will be great to battle with giants Fiji. We played Wales before and lost twice to them last year in the Dubai and Cape Town Sevens," he explained.

The coach added that the Sri Lanka team has more game time under their belt than Uganda because of the country's geographical location which has helped it play in various tournaments.

Onyango also hinted that this year's Commonwealth Games will be very tricky because only the top team in each group will qualify for the Cup event. "In the past the best two teams qualified. This means every game will be a final of sorts," he said.

Micheal Wokorach, one of Uganda's star players, told KweséESPN that facing Fiji will be a dream come true. "Fiji is a very talented side and coming face to face with them will give us a challenge."

Thursday's draws placed hosts Australia in Group B alongside England, Samoa and Jamaica. Group A has in-form South Africa, Scotland, Papua New Guinea and Malaysia. In Group C, African sides Kenya and Zambia will tussle it out with New Zealand and Canada.