The Edo State Female Rugby Team led by Head Coach Ntiense Williams popularly known as “Mr Rugby” made history over the weekend by winning the 1st National Women’s Rugby Tournament held at the Main Bowl of the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba.
The tournament ran from Thursday 15 to Monday 17 July. The ‘Mr Rugby’ assembled team which was supported by assistants coaches Jeremiah Igbuwe and Emeka Matthew beat all comers at the championship to lift the trophy .
The championship was sponsored by the Delta State Government, and supported by an array of backers that included Buga Win Sports Betting Company, United Planet Media, SYDA and Africa Sports Connect.
It held under the auspices of the Nigeria Rugby Football Federation headed by Dr Ademola Are.
The Team Edo who looked much smaller in size in comparison to other teams were compensated with their well drilled techniques, passion, poise and strength of character.
Like dynamite that they are, they took on every team that came their way and defeated them all from different regions of the country.
But what was more interesting was the fact that they did not just beat their opponents, but they also ensured that they played all their games without any opponent scoring a try or a point on their result.
Thus emerging as the first rugby female team to complete a tournament without conceding any try or points in history.
This feat was made possible in all weather which they played in and by all opponents who could only threaten but couldn’t go pass the fortified impenetrable defence wall of the team.
They all played as a unit, less complains on the pitch and serious concentration on their goal, which was to re-establish their supremacy from the last 2020 National Sports Festival where they also won the gold at home.
This time around, it was sweeter as it was in their arch rivals Delta’s home and in front of their aggressive crowd.
Team Edo was well coordinated by infield captain and playmaker Augusta Mene who also was the team kicker.
She ensured that the game flowed smoothly once in possession of the ball and marshalled an impenetrable defence line.
Diminutive attacking centre, Becky Oktikpi was a terror throughout the tournament with her thrilling evasive runs and precise tackles which earned her the MVP and the highest try scorer with 9 trys (Goals) and lifting the trophy and and getting awards.
The Benin City Babes scored 3 un-replied Trys by Becky Oktikpi, Precious Ukwuoma, and Chinaza Abbah, while Playmaker Augusta Mene got in a conversion to make the final score 17 points to nil. (Try = 5 points & conversion = 2 points)
According to the Head Coach Obong Ntiense Williams, “We are so grateful to God for this huge win and historic record setting achievement.
“It is a clear statement to the investment put into all sports in Edo State by the Government of Godwin Obaseki and his sports loving Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu who superintends over the sporting activities as a sportsman himself”.
Said he, “You will remember that Rugby last featured at the 2020 National Sports Festival being hosted by Edo State after a long lay off of 11 years.
“Furthermore, it specially got a waver for the Women Rugby Event which had suffered from the reduction of participating teams due to the COVID -19 pandemic, but was rescued by the action sports loving deputy governor”.
According to the Akwa Ibom State born Rugby Aficionado, “This win, clearly confirms to us of a holistic sports development of the Edo State Sports Commission led by Yusuf Ali.
- MVP& Highest Try Scorer – Oktikpi Becky (Edo State)
- Most Promising Player – Godfirst Sampson (Lagos State)
- Highest Scoring Team– Edo 41 Vs Abia 0
- Highest Total Points of the Tournament= 151 Points tally.
- 27 Trys and 8 Conversions
- No Points Against! – This is a historic record.