The Nigeria rugby national team, Black Stallions yesterday defeated their Ghanaian counterparts 14 to 12 at the Nduom Stadium, Elmina, Ghana to win the inaugural President’s Cup trophy. The competition was organised by the two West African nations.
The match, which also marked the end of the three-nation West Africa Rugby Series that also featured Cote d’Ivoire, was highly entertaining and tough in the first stanza as neither of the teams could score a try before half time.
The Nigerian team, who were determined to prove a point in the championship after losing to Cote d’Ivoire in their first game by one point, scored the first try of the tie through team captain, Onoro-Onyiza with a conversion by Joshua Effiong giving the Black Stallions the lead at the early minute of the tie.
Ghana’s continuous push to get back into the game paid off towards the end of the match as the team scored a try, but they could not make their conversion, which kept the score line at 7-5.Birthday boy, Gabriel Etim beat the Ghanaian defence to score the second try for Nigeria, while Effiong Etim’s conversion increased the Black Stallions lead to 14 to 5.
The Eagles of Ghana succeeded to get a try towards the end of the encounter, with a conversion to reduce the points to 14 to 12.Ghana’s two missed conversions was their undoing, as they could not make another try before the game ended 14 to12.
Speaking after the match, Black Stallions’ captain, Onoro Onyiza said the victory came as a result of hard work and determination to prove that Nigeria is still a force to reckon with in rugby.
“The President’s Cup game against Ghana was tough, but we had to prove a point by going all out to win the tie. Losing out from the West Africa Rugby Series Cup through a slim defeat by Cote d’Ivoire did not go down well with the team.
‘The Black Stallions decided to put the defeat behind us and went on to win today’s game. The Ghanaian team were strong, but one team had to carry the day, which is Nigeria,” he said.
Nigerian Coach, Bronson Weir, who was delighted by the victory, declared that he would keep working on the team to get better.“I am happy for the victory. The game was tough, but my players gave their best. After the loss to Cote d’Ivoire, the team went back to correct some anomalies that affected the players. “I am happy my players were able to interpret my formation and it paid off in the second half. The victory will spur me to start working more on building a quality team for future international engagements coming up later this year,” he said.