Samurai Barracuda retains Independence Sevens tourney
High-flying Samurai Barracuda RFC of the United Kingdom defeated Cowrie RFC of Lagos by 26-0 tries to win this year’s Independence Sevens International Rugby tournament, which ended at the weekend at the Lagos Polo Club, Ikoyi Lagos.
The Samurai Barracuda, who are defending champions of competition, gave a good account of themselves throughout the game that drew rugby fans from within and outside Lagos to the polo arena.
The team, which fielded African, North American, British, Oceania and European players, were more technical on the offensive, which resulted to the collapse of the Cowrie RFC defense.
The Cowrie RFC team, led by Azeez Ladipo, had other top stars, including Christian Ogar, Onor Jatto and ThankGod Okafor. They showed a sign of brilliance in the early minutes of the encounter but could not convert their effort to a try due to mistakes from the exchange of passes.
The Barracuda players, who took advantage of the complacency of the Nigerian team, created chances in all areas of the pitch to win then game by 26-0.
Speaking at the end of the game, Azeez Ladipo said their opponents had experienced and skillful players, adding: “Cowrie would have won the game if we took advantage of our early chances.
“Well, we cannot blame anybody at this moment. Cowrie have to work hard to win the Independence Sevens next year. You cannot dispute the fact that Samurai have quality and experienced players in their team, but this is not an excuse for Cowrie’s loss.
“The team have to go back to the drawing board to retrace their mistakes,” he said.
Cowrie RFC’s Christian Ogar also added that his team did not have enough training session to contend with the Samurai Barracuda players, who are always playing together.
In his remarks at the end of the championship, NRFF President, Kelechukwu Mbagwu said the tournament was successful because of the professional administrators involved in its organisation.
“This year’s Rugby Sevens International Championship has proved that rugby in Nigeria is growing.
“In this year’s championship, Nigerian grassroots clubs gave a good account of themselves against international teams. We are working hard to source for more talents across the country to keep the game growing. The Independence Sevens tourney has opened doors for more companies to identify with the games. As the new president of the board, this is the first time other companies are involved in sponsoring the game.
“The new NRFF board will continue to create an enabling environment for Nigerian rugby to meet international standard.
“On the aspect of the women rugby, we are working hard to raise the standard of the women teams. Women would be given much priority in my board, as you can see my vice president is a woman and the Rugby Sevens tournament instructor, who is a woman, is from Zimbabwe. This shows that rugby is not only for men,” he said.
In the plate final, Nasarawa beat Delta Force 15-12, while Edo was defeated by Barewa 17-12 in the school cup final. In the female category, Edo women team beat Lagos 10-5. Teams that participated at the two-day championship are Merlins RFC, Barewa RFC, East of the Niger, Nasarawa, Cowrie, Dragon Force, Delta Dragon, Kwara RFC, Samurai Barracudas, Racing, Blue Bulls and Sabongari RFC.
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