Category Archives: Rugby

Rugby Africa postpones U20 Barthés Trophy Due To Coronavirus Concerns

With view to the current development of the coronavirus and related health concerns, Rugby Africa has announced to postpone the U20 Barthés Trophy until further notice.

In consultation with Kenya Rugby Union and World Rugby, the following statement has been issued: Khaled Babbou, President Rugby Africa stated on behalf of the Rugby Africa Executive Committee: “The Ministry of Health of the Republic of Kenya has issued an update on COVID-19 on the 6th of March. Among other points it states: ‘The Government has, with immediate effect banned all meetings, conferences and events of international nature in Kenya.’

As much as Rugby Africa, the host and most of all the young players are looking forward to the continental U20 competition in Nairobi, we need to take every precaution we possibly can from our side to protect our players and support the fight against the Coronavirus as set out by the authorities. The tournament is not cancelled, but only postponed to a later date which we will communicate in due time. We thank the Kenyan Rugby Union for their tremendous support.”

Kenya Rugby Union Chairman Oduor Gangla concluded: “As a host union the safety and welfare of the participants is at the heart of our endeavours. We support Rugby Africa and the Kenyan authorities in their protective measures to our best abilities and therefore fully support the decision to postpone the U20 Barthés Trophy.”

The Barthés Trophy is the only junior tournament in Africa and 8 national U20 teams compete for the title. Participating teams in 2020 (in order of the current ranking): Kenya, Namibia, Senegal, Madagascar, Tunisia, Zimbabwe, Côte d’Ivoire, Zambia.

Ghana Rugby Launches #EachforEqual Women’s Day Competition

The Ghana Rugby Football Union (Ghana Rugby) will once again embrace International Women’s Day in 2020, this time with a competition whereby all the ladies of Ghana rugby or from anywhere in the world will be invited to take part.

The International Women’s Day 2020 campaign theme is #EachforEqual. The organisation describes this year’s theme as follows on their website http://bit.ly/3a8RuXR.

“Equality is not a women’s issue, it’s a business issue.

Gender equality is essential for economies and communities to thrive.

A gender equal world can be healthier, wealthier and more harmonious – so what’s not great about that?

The race is on for the gender equal boardroom, a gender equal government, gender equal media coverage, gender equal workplaces, gender equal sports coverage, more gender equality in health and wealth … so let’s make it happen. Let’s be #EachforEqual.”

The President of Ghana Rugby, Mr Herbert Mensah, has placed “Women in Ghana Rugby” high on his and his administration’s agenda since he took office on 5 June 2014.

“I am convinced that Ghana’s rugby ladies are going to become a major force on the world stage of rugby in the foreseeable future. In 2019 our Ghana Eagles sevens women surprised the rugby world by winning the Rugby Africa Challenge Trophy in Tunisia in their very first appearance in an international match. We are ready to build on that success-platform,” Mensah said.

Mensah also said that Ghana Rugby will play its first women’s fifteens matches in March 2020 between teams from CentWest and Greater Accra and that he is convinced that the Ghana Fifteens Women’s Eagles will surprise the Africa rugby world when it enters the Rugby Africa women’s fifteens tournament in 2021.

Ms Rafatu Inusah, Board Member and Women’s Representative of Ghana Rugby, said that ‘#EachforEqual’ has been her mantra from the day when she was tasked to drive Women in Ghana Rugby.

“With the support from our President and Board Chairman women’s rugby has blossomed and we are ready to show the world that we can match the men’s performance and indeed better on it!” Inusah said.

Ghana Rugby Launches #EachforEqual Women's Day Competition
Ghana Rugby Launches #EachforEqual Women’s Day Competition

Inusah also showed the Ghana Rugby ladies the way on how to enter the fun competition to celebrate Women’s Day in 2020.

To enter the competition a lady, young or old, must hold a rugby ball in the fashion she demonstrates and say the words, “#EachforEqual”. The short clip can then be sent to Ghana Rugby via a competition entry form that can be accessed here: http://bit.ly/2uvBq3g.

An independent panel of judges will adjudicate the entries and award three prizes to the value of GHS 1,000, GHS 500 and GHS 250 for the best three entries.

Uganda Women’s Central Rugby League Draws Close To The End

The second week of the URU Women’s Central Regional league had Black Pearls hosting Avengers at the Kings Park Arena. Black Pearls were coming off a historic 10-13 win against the defending champions Thunderbirds, while Avengers were playing their first match in the 3 team league. Avengers were first off the blocks using their powerful forwards to gain metres in the Pearls 22 before their captain Peace Lekuru made a break to score in the corner in the 7th minute. The tricky conversion was missed and Avengers held a slim 5 point lead for 15 minutes before a series of slick passes and offloads by the Pearls backline released Lydia Namabiro to dotdown in the corner. The conversion was also missed to tie the game but 5 minutes later.

Avengers winger, Isabella Abbo, capitalised on a sleeping Pearls defence to pick the ball off the back of a ruck in the Pearls 22 and sneak down the blindside to score in the corner. The subsequent conversion missed and Avengers took a 5 point lead again. Peace Lekuru was sent to the sin bin for a dangerous tackle but despite losing their hard hitting captain Avengers struck just before half time after Beatrice Atim crashed over from close range to go into the break leading by 10 points.

Uganda Women's Central Rugby League
Uganda Women’s Central Rugby League Nears End

Black Pearls came back from the break with more intent and their backline consistently troubled the Avengers defence until the Pearls winger, Linda Atoo, showed a clean pair of heels to get around the Avengers defence to score in the corner in the 48th minute. The conversion was missed but 10 minutes later, Mary Gloria Ayot made a brilliant line break to score between the posts. Tina Akello made the easy conversion and for the first time in the game, Black Pearls led but only by 2 points. Peace Lekuru was again on hand to score a captain’s try in the 30th minute after she scratched a penalty from the 5 to barrel her way over the line to recapture the lead.Juliet Nandawula was on hand to make the extras for Avengers to lead by 5 points once again.

Despite some determined onslaughts from Black Pearls, Avengers held firm to win 17-22. Black Pearls top the table standings with 5 points from 2 games while Avengers have 4 points from one game and Thunderbirds have 1 point from one game. Avengers host Thunderbirds this Saturday in a must win encounter for the defending champions.

Rugby Union To Return Nigeria’s National Sports Festival 2020

Rugby Union is set to return to the National Sports Festival 2020 after a ten year absence having missed out in the last three editions held in Lagos, Rivers and Abuja.

The Nigerian National Sports Festival is a biennial multi-sport event organised by the Federal Government of Nigeria through the National Sports Commission for athletes across Nigeria.

Rugby last featured as a medal winning event in Kaduna 2009 having made a debut at the 2006 Gateway games in Ogun State. Prior to that Rugby went through a mandatory demonstration in three previous events.

Athletes from the 36 states and the FCT are expected to participate in the festival tagged “Edo 2020”, and the events will hold in 22 venues . Rugby Players in the country from all the six geo-political zones are presently engaged in Zonal Qualifiers before the main event which comes up in March, 2020.

New Challenger Series to Boost Rugby Sevens’ Expansion

The World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series, a new and exciting international rugby sevens competition, will be launched in February 2020 to boost rugby sevens’ development across the globe.

With sevens experiencing exponential growth from a performance and fan engagement perspective, World Rugby is launching men’s and women’s Sevens Challenger Series to develop the next generation of rugby players and take rugby sevens to new nations, further growing the popularity and participation of sevens following its hugely impactful Olympic debut at the Rio 2016 Games.

The men’s series will feature 13 core teams from the six World Rugby regions who will compete over two rounds alongside three invitational teams.

The top eight core teams after the two rounds will then compete in the final playoff tournament for a spot in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, replacing the bottom placed core team in the World Series in the following season. This promotion and relegation system will provide a clear and consistent development pathway for teams ready to shine at the highest level of rugby sevens.

The two legs of the inaugural World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series will be played in South America in Viña del Mar, Chile (15-16 February 2020) and Montevideo, Uruguay (22-23 February 2020).

Thirteen nations have earned their place in the Challenger Series by finishing as the top ranked nations who are not already competing in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series at their respective regional sevens competitions in 2019.

The teams who will compete in the 2020 World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series are Brazil, Chile, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Papua New Guinea, Portugal, Tonga, Uganda, Uruguay and Zimbabwe. They will be joined by three invitational teams from the Americas in Colombia, Mexico and Paraguay.

The final playoff tournament will be hosted alongside the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series event in Hong Kong on 3-5 April 2020.

A separate announcement for the women’s Challenger Series will be made in due course. World Rugby are heavily committed to growing the women’s game – the women’s competition on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series has expanded from six to eight rounds this season and teams are more competitive than ever, demonstrating the need and appetite for more women’s teams to be playing sevens at a high level.

official logo of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Preparation for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

The Rio 2016 Olympic Games attracted almost 17 million new fans from around the world to the speed, skill and fun of rugby sevens, and with Tokyo 2020 on the horizon, the Sevens Challenger Series will help to prepare teams for the possibility of playing on the world’s biggest sporting stage.

World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series participants Brazil, Chile, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Mexico, Tonga, Uganda and Zimbabwe will all take part in the Olympic repechage in June 2020 to try and secure their ticket to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Sir Bill Beaumont, World Rugby Chairman said: “We are thrilled to launch the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series in a pivotal year for rugby sevens ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Rugby sevens continues to attract new fans around the globe with its fast-paced, athletic and highly skilled format. The new Sevens Challenger Series will help to develop the next generation of players and bring international sevens events to new nations, further growing the popularity of our Olympic sport around the world.”

Mark Egan, World Rugby Head of Competitions and Performance said: “Today’s announcement is just the beginning for the Sevens Challenger Series, which will also see a women’s competition launched in 2020 and will evolve to feature more rounds across the globe as it grows and develops in future years.

Series Qualifier Men’s Captains at the 2019 qualifier in Hong Kong – Credit World Rugby Mike Lee

“The competition will allow unions outside of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series to compete on a more regular basis with a clear pathway to the highest level. Launching next year will provide an excellent platform for nations to develop and improve their competitiveness ahead of Tokyo 2020 and Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022 in South Africa.

Sudamerica Rugby President Sebastián Piñeyrúa said: “Hosting two rounds of the first Challenger Series is a tremendous opportunity to further develop rugby sevens in the South American region. This is an exciting development for rugby sevens and we are proud to be playing our part as hosts, welcoming teams from all over the world.”

To visit the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series website click here (http://bit.ly/2YZEkrR)

Herbert Mensah, President of the Ghana Rugby Football Union, Joins Africa Sports Ventures Group Board of Directors

Accomplished Ghanaian Business Man and former Pro Rugby Player Herbert Mensah has joined the Africa Sports Ventures Group Board of Directors bringing years of experience in the business and sports sectors to the young and transformative company.

Mr Mensah is the current President of the Ghana Rugby Football Union who has also served in a variety of high-level capacities in the business and sports sector in Ghana and Africa.

He was the former Chairman of the famed Ghanaian Football Club Asante Kotoko transforming it into a modern-day football outfit distancing it from a past that had resulted in a stalemate of progress and negative outcomes.

Mr Herbert Mensah, President and Board Chairman of Ghana Rugby

He currently serves as an Executive Committee Member of Rugby Africa where he heads up the Finance and Sponsorship Committee. Mensah is also on the Board of Directors for the Ghana Olympic Committee, where he serves as the Chairman of the Media Relations Sub-Committee.

Côte d’Ivoire Beats Rwanda (60-03) To Qualify For Group Stage of Rugby Africa Cup 2020

The Elephants beat the Rwandan Silverbacks (60-03) at the Bingerville Municipal Stadium in the qualifying rounds of the Rugby Africa Cup 2020.

Côte d’Ivoire’s Elephants will now enter the group stage of the Rugby Africa Cup 2020 where they will face Kenya and Morocco in June 2020.

Bakary Meité of Côte D'Ivoire, Rugby Africa Cup 2020
Bakary Meité of Côte D’Ivoire during the Rugby Africa Cup 2020 match between Côte D’Ivoire and Rwanda at the Bingerville Stadium in Abidjan, Côte D’Ivoire on 23 November 2019 ©Rugby Africa

In front of their home fans, the Côte d’Ivoire team dominated the match and put in a merciless 60-03 performance against Rwanda. With 8 tries, of which 4 were converted, and 4 penalties, the Ivorian Fifteens succeeded in turning the match in their favour. At half-time, the score stood at 31-0 to Côte d’Ivoire, to ultimately finish at 60-3.

With the excellent Meité Bakary (man of the match; scored 2 tries), Salif Touré, Konan N’Guessan, Bossonon Issa, Barro Mohamed and Peres Paul who all scored a try each, the Elephants thrilled their supporters, who came in droves to the Bingerville Municipal Stadium. The Rwandan Silverbacks were consoled with a penalty from Moise Habumugisha.

In the group stage of the RAC 2020, Côte d’Ivoire will be Group B, and will go to Morocco to cross swords with the Atlas Lions on 13 June 2020 before facing Kenya at home on 27 June 2020.

Côte D'Ivoire, Rugby Africa Cup 2020 match between Côte D'Ivoire, ©Rugby Africa
Côte D’Ivoire players celebrate during the Rugby Africa Cup 2020 match between Côte D’Ivoire and Rwanda at the Bingerville Stadium in Abidjan, Côte D’Ivoire on 23 November 2019 ©Rugby Africa players celebrate during the Rugby Africa Cup 2020 match between Côte D’Ivoire and Rwanda at the Bingerville Stadium in Abidjan, Côte D’Ivoire on 23 November 2019 ©Rugby Africa

Both coaches spoke to the media after the game:

Claude Ezoua, Rwanda’s Coach: “It went wrong for us in the scrum. Defensively, we were not up to standard and so it’s normal that we lost with this score. We have started the job at rugby Rwanda, and we are going to continue working to reach the level of the greatest teams. We have drawn the lessons from this match and are going to continue working in an academic setting. That is what we did when we were in the Côte d’Ivoire. We are going to follow the same method to become a great rugby nation.”

Edgard Babou, Côte d’Ivoire’s Sports Manager: “We had to put in an impressive performance here at home and that’s what we did. But it’s still not perfect. We must continue to work hard to beat Morocco and then Kenya. The group stage will be challenging. We need to continue the work we have started to come top of group B. Kenya is a big obstacle.”