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RUGBY GETS A BOOST IN EDO STATE

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Another tournament is in the offing as attempts to popularize rugby in Nigeria gather momentum.

According to head coach of Edo State Rugby Association, Ntiense Williams, the Ehibam Griefshare Foundation is partnering with the Edo State Rugby Association to launch the Ehibam Schools Rugby Tournament on Saturday December 1 at Emotan College in Benin City.

“Mr. Rugby”, Ntiense Williams

Activities lined up for the official launch of the tournament which will kick off fully in 2019 will include two schools sevens rugby matches for boys and girls from selected schools who have been involved in the sports of Rugby in the state.

Other activities lined up will include a wellness talk, medical testing and counselling by professional health workers for a preventive and healthy lifestyle for the society and mostly for those involved in sports and Rugby in particular.

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Ehibam Griefshare Foundation has decided to partner in the development of Rugby in Nigeria and Edo State in particular.

According to the founder of the Foundation, Pastor Dupe Irele, “the Ehibam Griefshare Foundation was set up two years ago in memory of my beloved son Ehisieme Osarieme “Ehi” Alonge who passed on at a tender age of 35 years in England on his way home from work.

He was a dedicated rugby player and Coach, playing regularly with his local rugby team “Kilburn Cosmos RFC” and coaching the kids in his neighborhood!”

Said Pastor Dupe, as she is fondly called, “The Foundation which is primarily involved in assisting grieving family overcome their trying time has decided to give back to society through Ehi’s love – “Rugby” and what better place to start than his home town of Edo State” .

 

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“After the formal launch of a Rugby Tournament this year on his birthday being 01 December, we hope to the scale it up to an annual Schools Rugby Tournament in his memory to be known as “Ehibam Schools Rugby Tournament” and it could possibly become a National event to promote the game of Rugby in Nigeria.

“We were introduced to Mr Ntiense Williams, popularly known as “Mr. Rugby” in Nigeria and he has been so fantastic in helping and guiding us through the planning of this event and the sport of rugby, which is so fast growing in the country.

“The Foundation is therefore proud to be involved with this project in memory of our son, Ehi.

“We have come home to Edo State with the hope of helping in whatsoever way to revive and reposition the state as a sports – and particularly – a Rugby-loving state in Nigeria.

“With time, we will be talking with his Kilburn Cosmos Rugby Club side to also assist and possibly visit Nigeria and play some international club friendly rugby matches especially in Edo state and in the flagship national rugby tournament. “

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According to Ntiense Williams, the event promises to be a success with the endorsement by the Governor and the Deputy Governor of Edo State who are meant to grace the occasion as the Special Guests of Honour to the event alongside other state executive members and royal fathers.

Rugby was introduced to Edo State in 2006 by Ntiense Williams towards the Gateway Games which Rugby became a medal winning event and Edo State won an unprecedented four gold medals and a bronze medal out of six gold medals at the National Sports Festival.

The Schools Rugby Program has been running since 2014 in twelve Schools in Benin metropolises on self-sponsorship by the Coaches, and the assistance of the Chairman of the Edo State Rugby Association Arc. Frank Evbuomwan and some board members.

According to the Chairman of the newly established Edo State Sports Commission ,Godwin Dudu-Orumen who linked up the Foundation with the Rugby Association, “We sincerely thank the Ehibam Griefshare Foundation for reposing the confidence in the game of Rugby which is one of our power and strength sports which many Edo indigenes are involved here and abroad and doing exploits. We will like to call on other well-meaning individuals and corporate bodies to come and join forces with us towards developing the sports in the state and in Nigeria”.

According to the Head Coach of the Edo State Rugby Association and National Technical Director of the Nigeria Rugby Football Federation, “we are very delighted to have this surprise package from Ehibam Griefshare Foundation to float a Schools Rugby Tournament in Edo State.

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“We look forward to partnering with them towards further making Edo State a household name, tourist destination in Rugby through our ongoing “Catch-Them-Young Schools Rugby Project”.

 

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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All set for Edo State Schools Rugby Tournament

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The fourth edition of the Edo State Schools Rugby Tournament is set to begin on Friday 1st December 2023 at the home of Rugby in Edo State.

According to Obong Ntiense Williams a head coach, Ehibam Griefshare Foundation will be hosting the tournament at  Edo Boys High School, in Benin City from 10am – 4pm.

The Foundation has over the last five years partnered with the Edo State Rugby Association in the Ehibam Schools Rugby Tournament.

According to the initiator Pastor Dupe Irele, “We had a return to the field after the disruption caused by the Covid 19 pandemic in 2020,  As such, to revive the program.

“The Ehibam Griefshare Foundation decided to help provide the basic Rugby Equipment (Rugby Balls) to kick start the program after the pandemic in 2021 and a subsequent tournament last year”.

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Said She, “The Rugby Balls Presentation Ceremony was the Foundation’s way of reassuring the future of the program with its continued support and partnership in its activities going forward. The Ehibam Schools Rugby Program was launched in 2018 to encourage the sport of rugby among the young boys and girls from both primary and secondary schools in Edo State”.

 

Pastor Dupe continued, “The wind behind the sail of the foundation is Late Ehisieme Alonge who was an ardent Rugby Player in the United Kingdom who spent a lot of time nurturing the young children in the beautiful game of Rugby. To this end we look forward to the Ehibam Schools Rugby Invitational Tournament this year on the actual birthday of Late Ehisieme Alonge who passed on in the United Kingdom at the age of 35, on the 10th June 2015”.

 

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The foundation, with the push of the Edo State Head Coach and workaholic Ntiense Williams popularly know as “Mr Rugby” and his hardworking team of Coaches will this year be organising an invitational 4 female and 4 male teams Championship.

 

We remain keen in our desire to work closely with the Rugby Association and by extension the Edo State Sports Commission in the development of Rugby as a sports for the social and physical promotion of the welfare of students in Edo State.

 

The vision of Ehibam Griefshare Foundation is to provide a helping hand to those in grief/mourning and help them to a “New Normal” life.

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According to Dupe, “In his lifetime, Ehisieme was an ardent Rugby player and devoted his time to training children in the game. It is in fulfilment and continuation of this passion that the Foundation decided, at the persistence of Mr Ntense Williams “Mr Rugby” an ardent lover of the game, to partner with the Edo State Rugby Association in developing the game of Rugby in Schools”.

 

The Foundation is therefore proud to be associated with this project in memory of our son Ehisieme.

 

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According the Organiser of the event Ntiense Williams, “This tournament has greatly assisted Edo State to be a National Champion in Youth Games Rugby events and in extension the Open Championship as well, like the recently completed National Women Sevens Rugby Tournament which Edo State Female Team won in grand style and made history as the only team to have played and won all games without conceding a defeat or any point against!”

 

Said he, “We will like to sincerely thank EHIBAM GRIEFSHARE Foundation for keeping faith with the development of School’s Rugby in Edo State.  There will be two floating trophies for the winning teams of both boys & girls team. There will also be Medals for the best 3 teams in both boys & girls categories and there will be two prizes for the MVP and Highest Try Scorers to celebrate the occasion.”

 

PREVIOUS WINNERS

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* Emotan College & Asoro / Correctional Staff School (LAUNCHING) – 2018

* Emotan College & Correctional Staff School – 2019

* COVID 19 PREVENTED THE TOURNAMENT in 2020

* REVIVED THE PROJECT WITH DONATION OF RUGBY BALLS – 2021

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* Idia College & Iyekogba Grammer School – 2022

 

Here is wishing all of us a great injury free tournament.

 

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Africa Investment Forum welcomes Rugby Africa President to discuss the business of sport

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The newly elected President of Rugby Africa, the continental governing body for rugby in Africa, Mr Herbert Mensah, will discuss the business of sport in a one-to-one fireside chat at the 2023 Africa Investment Forum (AIF) on Thursday, November 9 in Marrakech, Morocco.  

The annual three-day Africa Investment Forum Market Days event will commence on Wednesday November 8 to Friday November 10 under the theme “Unlocking Africa’s Value Chain” in Marrakech, Morocco.

Championed by the African Development Bank and seven other founding partners (Africa50, Africa Finance Corporation, Afreximbank, Development Bank of Southern Africa, European Investment Bank, Islamic Development Bank and Trade and Development Bank), the Africa Investment Forum is Africa’s investment marketplace to accelerate transactions to close Africa’s investment gaps.

Founded in 2018, the Africa Investment Forum has mobilized nearly $143 billion in investment interest. The event brings together heads of state, business leaders, decision makers and investors to advance critical investment transactions to closure. Previous attendees include H.E Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, H.E Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa, and H.E Nana Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana.

The sports industry in Africa is experiencing rapid growth, with the potential to generate jobs, improve public health, foster social inclusion and drive economic growth. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the industry was valued at $7 billion in 2018 with an expected growth of $12 billion in 2027. Despite the potential, investment across Africa remains limited, with only 1% of startup financing directed towards the sport sector.

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Rugby Africa President, Herbert Mensah, continues to emphasize the business potential of rugby across Africa. Since his election, President Mensah has called for a change of mindset from African governments and international organizations to increase investment in rugby across Africa. In June, President Mensah delivered a keynote speech on treating rugby as a lucrative business venture at the Bloomberg New Economy Gateway Africa 2023 event in Marrakech, Morocco.

 

-insidethegames

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Ruthless France thump Namibia 96-0

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France captain Antoine Dupont was forced off in the second half with an injury to his face during the Pool A rout of Namibia

France are on the brink of reaching the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals after claiming their biggest-ever win with a 96-0 victory over Namibia in Pool A.

Damian Penaud scored a hat-trick, while Jonathan Danty, Charles Ollivon and Louis Bielle-Biarry all scored twice.

Antoine Dupont, Thibaud Flament, Baptiste Couilloud and Melvyn Jaminet also crossed before a penalty try took their total tally to 14 in Marseille.

The only French cause for concern was the loss of Dupont to injury.

The hosts’ captain was withdrawn during the second half following a head-on-head tackle by Johan Deysel, whose yellow card was upgraded to a red by the bunker-review system.

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France head coach Fabien Galthie’s decision to keep his talisman on the field despite his side’s huge 54-point half-time advantage could be scrutinised if Dupont’s injury keeps him on the sidelines with the knockout stages looming.

Les Blues, who are top of Pool A with three wins from their opening three games, surpassed their previous biggest winning margin of 87-10 against Namibia in their last home World Cup in 2007 and will face Italy in their next fixture on 6 October in Lyon.

Namibia are rooted to the bottom of the table after suffering three heavy defeats, and face a final pool game against Uruguay on 27 September.

Ruthless France peaking at the right time

A much-changed France side overcame Uruguay without overly exerting themselves in their last game, but the Namibians felt the full force of their wrath here.

Heavyweights Dupont, Penaud and Flament were back in the side and they were quickly into their stride at Stade Velodrome.

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Dupont showed all of his class to fire a cross-field kick with his right boot for the prolific Penaud to extend his try-scoring run to six consecutive Tests.

Centre Danty marked his return to the side after injury with the second following some neat work from Bielle-Biarry close to the touchline before Ollivon rounded off a flowing team move.

Penaud added his second moments later with an inside pass from a line-out move off the training field, before Danty doubled his own tally with a powerful finish from close range.

Simple run-ins for Flament and Dupont followed before the diminutive scrum-half turned provider with a perfectly weighted clip off his left boot for Bielle-Biarry to score without breaking stride.

That try handed France a 54-point lead and their biggest ever half-time advantage, but they were far from finished.

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Dupont made way holding his face but it would not affect the outcome on the night as his replacement Couilloud crossed unopposed in the corner.

Penaud secured his hat-trick in the same corner before Namibia, who had been toothless in attack, intercepted a loose French pass and threatened to score their opening try, but Jaminet covered the kick through as France recycled the ball and Bielle-Biarry ran it straight back with interest.

An Ollivon dummy for try number 12 was followed by a neat backs’ move for Jaminet to finish off before a final penalty try ended the rout.

France are among the favourites to lift the Webb Ellis Cup next month and will face tougher challenges than the one posed by Namibia, but their ruthless attack sent a real message to the rest of the runners and riders.

-BBC

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