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Rugby: Samurai Retains Lagos Rugby 7s Title

By Akeem Busari

. Samurai Barracudas players with the trophy

The 8th edition of the Lagos Independence Rugby 7s came to an exciting end Sunday at the Lagos Polo club with Samurai Barracudas beating Cowrie Rfc of Lagos 26-0 to win the coveted title for the second consecutive time.

The two day event which featured 12 teams draw from different parts of Nigeria, as well as South Africa and United Kingdom, expectedly attracted a large crowd of rugby enthusiasts, who were thoroughly thrilled.

In some of the classification matches played earlier, Sabongari Rfc beat Warri Wolves 14-0, to win the Bowl final and the cash prize of one hundred thousand naira; Delta Force Rfc defeated Nasarawa Rfc 15-12 to win the Plate, as well as, a cash prize of N150, 000.

In the exhibition games, Edo Women defeated Lagos 10-5; and Barewa Academy defeated Edo Boys 15-12.  The impressive crowd were made to salivate for the biggest game of the event, as the veterans of the game from Nigeria thumped their South African counterparts.

In the championship match, Cowrie Rfc of Lagos started like a house on fire. Taking the game to their more illustrious opponents. However, the more experienced Samurais thwarted these onslaughts and went on to unleash its venoms with two fast tries in the first stanza.

Samurai Barracudas, a team of top class players drawn from Kenya, Portugal, Nigeria, South Africa and the United Kingdom, did not take their feet off the pedals as it added two more tries, to completely take the winds off the sails of Cowrie Rfc, and thus ,going home with the coveted trophy, as well as, the sum of three hundred and fifty thousand naira. While the valiant finalists, Cowrie Rfc, received the sum of two hundred thousand naira.

Speaking during the event, President of the Nigeria Rugby Football Federation, Kelechukwu Mbagwu, expressed his satisfaction on the improved standard and quality of the games at this year’s championship.

He went on state that the future of the game in Nigeria remain bright. Adding that the NRFF would continue to explore all avenues to popularize the game, as well as, making it youth friendly.

Ladipo, who is captain of the national team, the Black Stallions, maintained that the final match result is not an indictment on the standard of the game in the country. As he described it as a lesson which would put Nigerian players on a better stead.

On his part, Leal Pedro, captain of Samurai Barracudas who was declared the MVP of the championship, enthused that Nigerian rugby players are gifted enough to rub shoulders with the best in the game.

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