Uganda can beat Samoa at Sevens World Cup -- Okorach

Uganda's Sevens Rugby Cranes will face a tricky tie against Samoa if they are to progress far at the Rugby World Cup Sevens Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Uganda Rugby Cranes skipper Michael Okorach has said they should not be taken lightly during the Rugby World Cup Sevens next month.

"It will be our first time at the World Cup and we shall make sure we battle to give a good impression," Okorach told KweséESPN during an interview.

Uganda together with Zimbabwe, Kenya, and World Rugby Sevens Series champions South Africa will represent the African continent during the World Cup slated for July 20-22 in San Francisco at the AT&T Park.

"There is no team that should take us for granted because we have gained lots of experience over the years and recently played in the Commonwealth Games and some sevens tournaments in Germany, Dubai, Cape Town and Hong Kong," added Okorach.

Although Samoa -- their first opponents at the World Cup -- have been in the sevens arena for a long time at the top level, the captain said that Uganda is determined to prove a point that it was not by mistake that the Sevens Rugby Cranes qualified for the World Cup.

Okorach, speaking about the change in the format of play, also believes that this World Cup will be very tricky and competitive because every match will matter.

"It is not like during the past when teams were grouped and every team played several games in the group," added the skipper mindful that a win for Uganda against Samoa will see them book a place to face England in the round of 16.

The men's tournament will get underway on day one with Kenya, runners-up in the recent Hong Kong and Vancouver legs of the World Rugby Sevens Series, facing Tonga in the first game of the preliminary round.

According to the new format, the losers in the preliminary round of 16 will drop to the Bowl competition, losers in the round of 16 drop to the Challenge Trophy and winners move to the Championship.

"It is actually not a very fair format especially to some of our teams that are just coming up," Ramzy Olinga, the Chief Executive Officer of the Uganda Rugby Union told KweséESPN.

Africa's other representatives are Zimbabwe, who will battle in the preliminary round against Wales, while South Africa are among the top-ranked nations and automatically qualify for the round of 16 where they will wait to face the winner between Ireland and Chile.

Uganda qualified for the Rugby World Cup Sevens last year after beating Zimbabwe 22-10 to retain the Africa Cup Sevens.