Delta State Male Rugby Team and Edo State Female Rugby teams have qualified from the South South Zonal Team Sports Elimination played in Asaba over the weekend in preparation for the National Youth Games coming up Ilorin early next month.
According to the Technical Director of the Nigeria Rugby Football Federation (NRFF), ‘Mr Rugby’ Obong Ntiense Williams, who coordinated the Rugby Qualifiers for the Zone, “three states contested for the South South Zonal Elimination for Rugby 7’s Event.
“The states are Delta, Rivers and Edo. Unfortunately Akwa Ibom State dropped their rugby team on departure and Bayelsa couldn’t feature their U15’s this time around.”
Said he, “The teams played a round robin games in the Male Rugby 7’s Event. Delta State won two match against Rivers and Edo respectively, thus accumulating eight points.
“Edo State playing with only six players came second by winning a match against Rivers three points to nil and lost one to Delta 28 to 10 points, thus accumulated four points.
“Rivers came third after losing both matches, but had one bonus point when they lost to Edo within seven points.
The Female 7’s event had only two teams Edo and Delta registered as Rivers didn’t come with their Female Rugby team.
Both teams played two matches between themselves. They drew in the first match by 10 points a piece and Edo went on to defeat Delta in the Second Match by 17 to 7 points.
After all the matches, Delta State won the male event and Edo State won the female event and will both represent the Zone early next month for the main National Youth Games in Ilorin.
Meanwhile, the students of St Patrick School where the matches were played trooped out to catch a glimpse of this exciting and beautiful game.
They ended up asking for a Coach and will be producing some of the next National Youth Game U15 Rugby Players for Delta State.
In other Zonal Qualifiers, Lagos State will be representing the South West Zone in both male and female events, while in the South East Zonal elimination that took place in Ebonyi State, Abia State Male and Anambra State female teams have qualified to represent the Zone in Ilorin.
In the other Zonal Qualifiers in the North East, Bauchi State will be representing the zone with a male rugby team, while, Kano State will represent the North West Zone in both the male and female events.
Kwara State completes the North Central zonal representative.
According to Obong Ntiense Williams, “I am so happy that our hard work of introducing Rugby around the country is paying off because, for the first time, we have teams from all the six geo-political zones being represented in the rugby event.
“This is a product of inclusiveness in the mainstream of sports in Nigeria and a fall out from the just completed 20th National Sports Festival held in Edo State earlier this year, where Rugby returned as a scoring event, thus generating the much needed interest from the states which has resulted in positive Rugby development across the Country.”