Rugby federation settles for home-based players
As part of efforts to develop the standard of the home-based players, the Nigeria Rugby Football Federation (NRFF) has decided to field domestic players in the forthcoming Africa Bronze Cup Championship slated for Cameroon in May. The NRFF added that henceforth home-based stars would form the bulk of the country’s squad to other international engagements.
The federation said the move would also help in developing the game at the grassroots level, adding that Rugby Africa has announced new dates for the Africa Bronze Cup. To vie for the cup alongside Nigeria, who were runners at the 2016’s Division 1C, are Algeria and Cameroun, both retuning to the competition after missing the 2016 edition.
The rugby body explained that the tier three event, now known as ‘Bronze Cup,’ will involve six teams, divided into two groups, North and South, with Nigeria the seeded team in the North group.
The NRFF said the Southern group tournament, which will take place immediately after the Northern event, will feature Zambia, relegated from Division 1B, Mauritius from Division 1C and Rwanda, who recently attained full membership of World Rugby.
Only one team with most points will climb up to compete in Silver Cup next year. NRFF Technical Director, Olatunji Fasimoye said Nigeria has a huge opportunity to be promoted this year judging by the players’ development level.
“Already, we have been going round scouting for players and we will open camp early April in preparation for the event. “The Nigeria rugby national team, the Black Stallions, will also compete in other tiers of competitions in Africa this year, including the Gold Cup, formerly Cup 1A, which is the tier 1 event. Four teams from 2016’s Division 1A – Kenya, Namibia, Uganda and Zimbabwe will be joined by the two pool winners from Division 1B, Senegal and Tunisia.