We cannot afford to be relegated - Seguya

Uganda Rugby Cranes could barely lay a hand on Namibia's players -- like flanker Janco Venter here -- during their Rugby Africa Gold Cup opener, lost 55-6. Helge Schutz

Uganda Rugby Cranes assistant coach Robert Seguya has warned his players to 'fight for the jersey' against Tunisia in their upcoming Rugby Africa Gold Cup clash.

"We are bottom of the table with no points and cannot afford to be relegated down to the Rugby Africa Silver Cup," Seguya told KweséESPN ahead of Saturday's clash at Kyadondo Rugby Club in Kampala.

The Uganda Rugby Cranes lost their opening match to Namibia 55-6 before falling 38-22 to arch-rivals Kenya in early July. Both those matches were away, but they will close the competition with three home fixtures during which they will need to salvage some pride.

"We need to wake up because we are in a terrible position and need to carry ourselves over and above to win games. We need to win our remaining three games convincingly against Tunisia, Morocco and Zimbabwe," Seguya said.

"No team walks on to the pitch to suffer defeat. But we have lost our opening two games and this should act as a learning curve to the players to fight back strongly and prove a point that they deserve to don the national team jersey," explained Seguya, a former national team skipper.

Rugby Cranes centre Michael Okorach, who captained the Uganda sevens team at the recent World Cup in the USA, told KweséESPN that he is eager to fight for the national team, but will need to be declared fit.

"I injured my shoulder during the World Cup. Let me see how it gets on after training in the next few days," Okorach said on Tuesday.

Either way, head coach John Duncan will have to do without instrumental players Marvin Odong and Lawrence Ssebuliba who are already absent through injury. Ssebuliba broke his arm against Namibia while Odong had surgery on his nose and jaw following a heavy collision during the East African derby against Kenya.

Namibia currently lead the log with three wins and 15 points, while the other unbeaten team Kenya are second on 12 points from three matches played. Tunisia who have one win and a loss are third with 4 points, while Zimbabwe and Morocco have three points.

Besides battling for the Africa Gold Cup, the six teams are also eager to come out top to get the opportunity to accompany South Africa to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

The second-best team will play in a repechage tournament that will be held at State Delort in Marseille in November.