The Black Stallions batting with their Nigerienne opponents in Niamey… at the weekend.
Nigeria’s Rugby National team (the Black Stallions) announced their return to the international scene at the weekend with a 59-point to 13 defeat of Niger Republic at the Stade General Seyni Kountchede, Niamey. The friendly game was Nigeria’s first international match since Rugby Africa lifted the ban placed on the country due to a leadership crisis.
Captain Azeez Ladipo converted a penalty five minutes into the game to set the tone for a glorious afternoon for the Nigerian boys.Joshua Etim scored the first try of the match, which was ably converted by Ladipo, while Christian Ogar scored the second try, which was also converted by Ladipo.
Niger Republic forwards fought back and mounted pressure on the Black Stallions defence and earned two penalties in the process. They converted the spot kicks to keep scores at 17 points to six at half time.
The second half resumed with the Black Stallions determined to make a mark against the Super 16 Northern Africa champions. Nigeria scored six more tries from Jato Onoru (three tries), Alfred Oche (two tries), and Azeez Ladipo (one try).
Ladipo also made six conversions, while substitute scrum half, Monday Omorogieva concluded proceedings with two precise conversions which brought the total points in the second half to 42 points to seven.
The Nigerien team scored a consolatory try in the 71st minute to end the scoreline at 59 points to 13.The international rugby test match was organised by Rugby Afrique to welcome Nigeria back to its fold and also keep the national team in its current ranking after lifting of the international suspension recently.
The Nigeria Rugby Football Federation (NRFF) President, Kelechukwu Mbagwu, who led the delegation to Niger Republic, congratulated the team for beating their opponents.
He said the Black Stallions’ next international match will be in September at the Africa Rugby Regional Sevens Championship in Cote d’Ivoire, which is also a pre- Olympics qualifier, as well as an All Africa Games/Africa Rugby Bonze Cup qualifiers for 2019.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian High Commissioner’s representative, Mr. Yakubu Adamu (Senior Consul), who came with other Nigerian Community members in Niamey to watch and support the team, were full of accolades for the fantastic display by the Black Stallions.
The Technical Director of the Rugby Federation, Ntiense Williams said, “This Test Match was a must win for Nigeria because we have finally played Niger, who walked us over in 2007 to win the Super 16 North Africa League by default. “We will like to sincerely thank the leadership of Rugby Afrique led by Mr. Abdulazis Bhudgja and Mr. Khaled Babbou, who organised the rugby match for Nigeria.”