Ghana Eagles swoop into the international rugby spotlight and snatch 2018 Rugby Africa Bronze Cup
The Eagles hosted and won two Rugby Africa tournaments in two years; were awarded full membership of World Rugby, and entered the Rugby Africa Men’s Sevens circuit in Kampala, Uganda in October 2017
The Ghana Eagles are emerging on the international rugby scene. On May 12, the national squad defeated Mauritius to win the 2018 Rugby Africa Bronze Cup at the Nduom Sports Stadium, in Elmina, Ghana.
With this win, the Eagles qualified for the 2019 Rugby Africa Silver Cup, in which they will compete with five other teams for the chance to play in the Rugby Africa Gold Cup (the Africa Cup) in 2020.
The victory is another milestone for Ghana in the sport, having been granted full member status by the World Rugby Council in March 2017.
“Winning of the Bronze Cup only heralded in a new phase of much tougher challenges,” says Herbert Mensah, president of Ghana Rugby, the sport’s governing body. “Ghana Rugby’s next three significant challenges are the 2018 Rugby Africa Men’s Sevens tournament, [in Tunisia] in October; the 2019 Rugby Africa Silver Cup for the Ghana Eagles men’s 15s team, and the 2019 Rugby Africa Women’s Sevens.
“Besides tackling the challenges of much tougher competition on the men’s circuits, we have set our goals on developing and advancing our women’s and junior teams to continental level,” he adds.
Established in 2003, Ghana Rugby has been an associate member of the World Rugby Council since April 2004, and is a full member of Rugby Africa, the regional association. Apart from the national team, it also has a number of age-graded national teams and a new women’s team.
The nation’s development of rugby has been remarkable since Mensah and his administration took over the running of Ghana Rugby in June 2014. These include the hosting and winning of two Rugby Africa tournaments in two years, being awarded full membership of World Rugby, and entering the Rugby Africa Men’s Sevens circuit in Kampala, Uganda in October 2017.
The fast development of rugby is attributed to strong support from the private sector, such as the Golden Tulip Accra hotel, Panafrican Equipment, Komatsu, Interplast, Gino and Ernes Chemists.
“Rugby, like many other minority sports, receives no support from the government and we have few other options than to call on corporate Ghana to benefit from the support to the union,” Mensah says.
The hosting of the 2018 Rugby Africa Bronze Cup would not have been possible without the support from Panafrican and Komatsu, and without the pledge from Golden Tulip Accra, the union might not be committed to tender to host the 2019 Rugby Africa Silver Cup in Ghana, he adds.
Panafrican has also made two scrum machines available for the union to improve the strength and skills of players. However, while the achievements of Ghana Rugby would not have been possible without the generous support for national assignments, the union requires substantial additional funds for other key areas such as youth development, women’s rugby development, training and education, Mensah says.