Rugby fans across the world will have a chance to watch live and stream, for free, the Battle of Zambezi, an epic clash between Zimbabwe and Zambia in both teams’ opening fixture in the Victoria Cup at the Machinery Exchange Stadium, Harare Sports Club tomorrow.
Zimbabwe Rugby Union has partnered with Sand Sport Live, a regional sports and television production house to stream the much anticipated match live on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/sandsportlive/
The world will marvel at school boys curtain raiser match between St Georges College and Churchill High School.
Sand Sport Live Managing Director says the online channel is relentless in beaming Zimbabwean rugby prowess to the digital space.
“Sand Sport Live is excited to be working with Zimbabwe Rugby Union for the Victoria Cup along with our continuation of covering school boy rugby.
This weekend will be bumper for viewers as we will live stream on our channel the school’s boys curtain raiser between St Georges and Churchill High School as well as the Victoria Cup game Zimbabwe versus Zambia.
Sand Sport endeavours to strengthen relationships with the Zimbabwe Rugby Union, recently we covered the Women’s Under-20 against South Africa and hat went on well – School boy rugby and we are setting our eyes further on club rugby,” said Viljoen.
Zimbabwe Women v Zambia Women: 11:20 hrs
St Georges College v Churchill High School: 13:00 hrs (Streaming live)
The much awaited seminar on rugby for primary and secondary school teachers in Lagos Island tagged ‘Get Into Rugby’ lived up to the billings as the participants exuded so much enthusiasm over the seminar.
The event organised by the Lagos Island Rugby Football Club and sponsored by Hon. Larinde Williams, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives was in conjunction with Lagos State Rugby Association, was held at the Christ Church Cathedral School Hall, Broad St, Lagos Island, Wednesday.
And the well attended event with over 46 primary and secondary school teachers in attendance, also drew stakeholders in the rugby football community including the Chairman, Lagos State Rugby Association, Mr. Akinwunmi Akintola,Mr. Dele Coker, Team Manager of the Nigeria National Rugby teams.
Others included representatives of the Director- General, Lagos State Sports Commission, politicians led by APC party chieftain in Lagos Island, Chief Sobaloju, as well as, Mr. Moshood Mayegun, Education Secretary, Lagos Island LGEA, Mr. Adeyemi Onanuga, Director of Sports, Education District III, and distinguished individuals from different walks of life.
Speaking with the press during the event, the Lagos State Rugby boss, Akintola, said his body would continue to collaborate with the organisers in order to make it better appreciated in the state.
On his part, the founder of the newly formed Lagos Island Rugby Football Club and initiator of the event, Hon. Larinde Williams, promised that such seminar would be a continuous one and with coaches being assigned to schools to train the teachers and the kids.
” We want to follow the success template in countries like England and South Africa, where the sport is introduced to the kids from the ages of 5-6. And we shall see how we can provide these schools with technical support at all times, ” the former national basketball and hockey star stated.
Mayegun, on his part promised that the Lagos Island LGEA are willing to continue its partnership with the organisers to make rugby popular and accepted at the grassroots level and in schools.
The seminar is a prelude to the major event slated for next month, August. It is a twin event to officially launch the newly formed Lagos Island Rugby Football Club, as well as, the Governor’s Cup to commemorate the inauguration of Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
Starting from November 2019, 16 teams will compete in the new Rugby Africa Cup (RAC) with an aim to qualify for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in 2022. This format is more inclusive and easier to follow. The top 16 teams based on the African ranking will compete in a single coordinated competition until the last two face each other in the final.
The first stage consists of a qualifying round: the teams ranked 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th will oppose the teams ranked 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th, respectively, in a single match at home. The winner of each of these four matches will progress to the group phase. In this second stage, the 12 teams are divided into 4 pools; inside each pool the 3 teams play against each other in a home or away game. The winner of each group will progress to the final tournament of the RAC. The top four teams from Africa will meet in one venue for the final stage of the RAC, which will include two semi-finals, a play-off for third place and, ultimately, the final to decide who will be the African champions.
Between the elimination series, the group rounds and the final tournament, there will be a total of twenty matches spread over up to sixteen different host countries across Africa.
“This arrangement gives every team a chance to make it to the finals and will reward merit and performance. The teams that are eliminated in the first round will have another chance in November 2020 to try and re-qualify. Rugby Africa (www.RugbyAfrique.com) is already exploring the possibility of creating play-offs with other nations not currently part of the 16 but who are keen to be included. All the member countries of Rugby Africa looking forward to participating in this competition! This exciting format is a totally different model of competition, with each of the three stages offering its own unique set of challenges.” Andrew Owor, Vice President of Rugby Africa said.
“Our idea with RAC is to create a clear path for the African teams who are fully aware of the steps they need to take to qualify for the Rugby World Cup. But what is also interesting for the teams that might find it challenging to qualify for France 2023, is that RAC gives them a new set of objectives: to secure a place in the group phase so that they can see how they measure up to the best teams, or even better, to join the top eight to be sure of a place in RAC the following year,” added Guédel N’Diaye, director of competitions with Rugby Africa.
The president of Rugby Africa, Khaled Babbou, expanded on the strategy behind this new project: “We are completely revising our system of competition. There was a study phase immediately after the inauguration of the new executive committee which led us to make difficult but necessary decisions to reposition our brand so that it brings more value to our federations and our partners in the long term. By introducing this new format, we hope to forge new partnerships that will allow us to improve our offering every year.”
“Rugby Africa is committed to a dual strategy, with an objective to stimulate more countries to get involved in the adventure that is rugby, to produce a great pool of high-level African athletes and to raise up our teams to a standard of excellence so that they gain recognition at an international level. Rugby Africa is already working in this direction with the other regions and with World Rugby to set up more encounters between the different continents so that our teams can increase their match experience.”
Herbert Mensah, co-opted member of the Executive Committee of Rugby Africa, underlines the importance of this decision in the strategic framework of Rugby Africa’s communication and promotion plans: “The Board’s ability to attract new media partners in addition to APO Group will ensure that sponsors and their contributions will be viewed across the continent as well as globally. It is our aim to sensitise current global sponsors of the largest growing emerging market which is Africa. This is a very bold move on the part of the Board aiming and it will require unions and regions to work closer together to raise awareness, competitions and sponsorship for other supporting programmes”
“The unveiling of this new competition format is very exciting for us at APO Group because it give us an opportunity to further optimise our communication plans promoting African rugby. The new easy to follow format helps with brand positioning as we work together to attract new sponsors. We have always been aligned with the values of leadership and spirit of commitment that Africa rugby represents and we look forward to continuing our support of the journey and evolution of the game”, said Lionel Reina, CEO of APO Group, the Main Official Partner of Rugby Africa.
Current African rankings (Men’s senior, Rugby Union) used as a basis for the Rugby Africa Cup:
The newly formed Lagos Island Rugby Football Club yesterday, under the courtesy of Lagos Island Rugby Initiative (LIRI), paid a visit to Government College Eric Moore, who are one of the schools invited to play a demonstration match during the Governor’s Rugby Cup on Saturday 06 July 2019 at the Hilario Campus mini stadium, Lagos Island, Lagos.
On the delegation of the LIRI team was Hon.( Otunba) Larinde Williams, who is the Chairman of the new rugby club, also fondly known as the “Islanders”.
Williams, who is an alumni of the school, was accompanied by the Project Consultant ‘Mr Rugby’ Ntiense Williams, alongside the President of the Old Boys Association of the School, Mr Lanre Shitta-Bay.
Government College, Lagos is one of the leading rugby playing schools in Lagos State since 2003. And they have won a couple of schools rugby tournaments such as the Barewa Rugby Club Schools Tournament.
The Lagos Island Rugby Initiative later donated rugby balls to the school and promised to kit up the team towards the event and provide any other needs of the school’s rugby team, towards making it a household name in Lagos State and Nigeria.
The Lagos Island Rugby Initiative (LIRI) was received by the Acting Principal Mr. Ojulari Raimi Aliyu, the Sports Master Alade Joseph Akintoye and other management of the school, who were elated with the kind gesture from an Old Boy. They promised to make the school proud at the competition and other rugby events in the future.
The school was thereafter, adopted into the LIRI program which will see over 60 Schools in the Lagos Island participating in the pilot program that will kick off on Wed 19 June 2019 with a Seminar for Sports Masters of the respective schools, as well as coaches who will be assisting to run the program.
As the Zambia Rugby Union 15 a-side almost concludes to pave way for the 7 a-side version, local rugby fans in Zambia are spoiled for choices between which encounters to watch.
On Saturday 1st June, 2019, a number of games have been lined up across the Lusaka and Copperbelt Provinces which according to analyst’s are ‘a must watch’. Zambia Police Service sponsored outfits Nkwazi Rugby Club hosts former League Champions ‘Men at Work’ Diggers Rugby Club who fired there Head Coach Lawrence Njovu on Monday after losing 2 games consecutively. If Nkwazi win the game, they go atop the ladder of their League Stream which is currently headed by the Zambia National Service sponsored side Green Eagles Rugby Club of Kabwe.
On the other side of Lusaka, the Zambia University Sports Associations RUGBY SECTION will be holding their annual ball games at the University of Zambia (Unza) Great East Road Campus Grounds. With 4 Teams so far confirming participation out of the more than 10 expected, organisers are waiting till the last minute to finalize fixtures. Expected participants include MULUNGUSHI, NKRUMAH, CHALIMBANA, LUSAKA APEX, CAVENDISH, ZAMBIA CATHOLIC, COPPERBELT, COPPERSTONE, DMI ST EUGENE’S & UNZA among others.
Those who enjoy Youth Rugby are not left out as the International School of Lusaka has plenty of age-grade action-packed rugby activities in store for the fans and spectators.
Copperbelt based fans also have plenty of activities as Roan host Nchanga in Luanshya while Ndola hosts Konkola at Diggers in Kitwe, as an added bonus to their loyal fans and sponsors, Lusaka Rugby Club has also organized a friendly game against Green Eagles set to be played at the Chester Dean Arena in the Lusaka Showgrounds.
“With so much talent and activities on display, we urge everyone from all walks of life to trek to the nearest venue and cheer the team of their choice. The Zambia Rugby Union (ZRU) and its affiliates are obviously doing their best to promote and grow the game of rugby”.
In partnership with Société Générale, the official bank of Rugby Africa, the Africa Women’s Sevens will take place on 12nd and 13th October 2019 in Jemmel in Tunisia and will bring together twelve of the best African teams. Each one will be eager to top the rankings so that they can qualify directly for the next Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games. The silver and bronze medallists will have another opportunity to qualify in a world repechage tournament where they will compete afterwards.
Aref Belkhiria, President of the Tunisian Rugby Federation says: “It is a great honour to be selected by Rugby Africa for the organisation of the Africa Women’s Sevens tournament, qualifier event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The FTR has made all the arrangements necessary for this tournament to take place in very good conditions and to convey an excellent image of African women’s rugby. ”
This year, the tournament is extended to 12 teams with the return of South Africa who was unable to participate in the African tournament in 2018 and is one of the most serious contenders for the title. Even so, the competition will be fierce, with a strong Kenyan team, for example, who have been finalists of the Africa Women’s Sevens for several years now and the Tunisian women who have been loud and clear about their ambition to dominate on home soil. The Ghanaians picked up the 12th place upon decision by the Rugby Africa’s Competitions Committee.
Herbert Mensah, President of the Ghana Rugby Union, expressed his gratitude to Africa Rugby for their decision and believed it was as a result of the prominence given to the development of women’s Rugby in Ghana over the past 4 years. “The ladies have been at the forefront of the growth of Get Into Rugby. Ms. Rafatu Inusah was honoured at the Africa Women’s 7s in Botswana where she gave a commitment on behalf of Ghana Rugby to be ready to compete in in the continental competitions from 2019. Ghana has a fully fledged ladies 7s senior league with plans afoot for a 15 a side league to commence in the future. As a non Rugby playing nation the efforts in Ghana should serve as motivation for all nations. “explained Mensah.
The following month, it will be the turn of the men to compete for the title of Champion of Africa to secure a qualification for Tokyo. The teams finishing second and third will also be given one last chance at the world repechage tournament. South Africa’s qualification seems guaranteed since it is currently ranked 4th, with a comfortable lead over 5th place, in the World Series classification which comes to an end on June 2nd. In this case, it will not participate in the African qualifications, meaning that Africa will have at least two representatives in the Olympic tournament.
The Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria, finalists of the Regional Sevens tournament held last September in Abidjan, have qualified as the 13th and 14th teams in the 2019 competition for the continent.
“These Olympic qualifiers will end the 2019 season in style and I thank the President of ANOCA Mr Berraf and the African National Committees that support our federations and teams in their preparation. Africa aims for high level and international recognition, and I believe Sevens rugby is the right format to promote and reveal our talents in Africa and especially as far as women’s rugby is concerned. I therefore extend my encouragements to all our athletes who are preparing for this event and expect high-level rugby in October in Tunisia and in November in South Africa, ” said Rugby Africa President Khaled Babbou.
Africa Women’s Sevens:
Jemmel Municipal Stadium, Tunisia, 12 & 13 October 2019
The young Algerian rugby federation formed in 2015, and who joined Rugby Africa in December 2016 filed its application in 2018 with World Rugby. After a favorable decision from the World Rugby Council last September, yesterday marked the last step in the process with the executive committee’s vote. This was done and Algeria joined the members affiliated to World Rugby.
The President of the Algerian Rugby Federation, Abdelkader Sofian Ben Hassen, said: “Today is a historic day because we officially join as an associate member of World Rugby. We have worked hard to achieve this goal and I would like to thank Rugby Africa, who guided us, all the volunteers, educators, rugby club presidents, the national team players and staff, not to mention our private partners who believed in us from day one and of course our Board. And I thank our Minister of Sports for his trust and for allowing us to enter this great sport’s forum and the National Olympic Committee of Algeria for its exceptional support. Thank you all, we are on our way for new rugby adventures. “
“I extend my sincere congratulations to the Algerian Rugby Federation, which has achieved this milestone in record time. This is a well-deserved recognition of all the work done for many years by President Ben Hassen and his team. Beyond the FAR, it is also teamwork on a continental scale that pays today. My thanks also go to the former President and now Honorary President of Rugby Africa, Abdelaziz Bougja, who was a strong supporter of the Algerian file as well as to the technical team of Rugby Africa who supported the FAR in this process.” adds Rugby Africa President Khaled Babbou from Dublin.
Algeria surprised the world of African rugby by finishing as winners of the Bronze Cup in 2017 during their first participation and similarly by emerging winners of the Silver Cup in 2018 thus earning 7th place in the African rankings!
On May 16, the federation signed a historic convention with the Algerian Federation of School Sports to introduce rugby into schools from September 2019. The number of Algerian schoolchildren and students reached 12 million in Algeria for the 2018/2019 school year, the growth potential of rugby is therefore very significant.
On May 3rd, during the visit of the officers of Rugby Africa, the FAR organised the final of the various competitions including a 7’s women’s competition (U 14, U 16, U 18, senior), and another 7’s for men at (U 14 , U 16, U 18, seniors) then to 15’s (4 senior teams); all in the context of a fantastic rugby festival.
This goes to show that the ambitions of the FAR are multiple from development of the game in Algerian territory for all young girls and boys to the excellence of its national teams on the world stage. As such, the Algerian rugby federation is already hard at work to be able to file its next application this time as a full member of World Rugby, the system that grants federations the opportunity to receive grants from the international body and the opportunity to qualify for the most prestigious international competitions.