Photo caption: (R-L) Tertius Strauss, the Regional Director of EXP Marketing, Joy Mayaki, a Board Member of NRFF, Uche R. Onwumedi, the Secretary General of NRFF and Fasimoye Olatunji, the Vice President/Technical Director of NRFF at the pre-South West Rugby League conference held in Lagos on Thursday, 27 march, 2014. –
The South West Rugby League will kick off at the National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos on 5 April 2014.
The regional league which will feature the South West League, Northern League and South South League, is making a long overdue return to Lagos, says the Nigerian Rugby Football Federation, NRFF.
According to NRFF, the leagues will run concurrently this year and the winner of each regional league will contest in the Super League for the title of the 2014 best team in the country. The Northern League is comprised of seven teams, while the South West and South South/East Leagues comprise of eight and four teams respectfully.
It was gathered that eight clubs will contest the South West league over two rounds during a twenty four-week season with all matches being played at the National Stadium.
Speaking during a press conference on Thursday, Tunji Fasimoye, the Vice President and Technical Director of NRFF, said it was important for the growth of rugby for players to get regular competition and opportunities to show their skills ahead of the international season.
“Nigerian rugby players around the country have been starved of regular competition and it is NRFF’s intention that the leagues will provide players with the chance to play and put their hands up for selection to the national team ahead of the Confederation Of Africa Cup Group C tournament in Botswana in June”, Fasimoye said.
The Vice President thanked CMB Building Maintenance and Investment Company for their drive towards the development of Rugby in Nigeria and their support in sponsoring the 2014 Regional Leagues. He also thanked the media for their growing support for rugby and acknowledged their role in rugby’s development.
The Chairman of the Friends of Rugby, FOR, Kelechuckwu Mbagwu, said the South West League matches will be played every second Saturday with the first match of the day beginning at 10:30am and the last game ending at 6pm.
“A lunch time interval between the first two games and the last two games of the day, will provide opportunities for schools, women and social rugby games to share the platform and build a rugby culture in the country”, the rugby officials said.
It was also gathered that League points will be awarded on the basis of 4 points for a win, 2 points for a draw and 1 point for losing by 7 points or less.
In keeping with international trends to encourage attacking rugby, 1 bonus point will be awarded for scoring four tries or more in a game. The draws for the South West League was conducted in the presence of the clubs and their captains.
“The media have a crucial role to play in growing and developing rugby. We count on you to help spread the word among boys and girls as little is known about the game. There are a lot of young boys and girls who would like to play the game and your reports on the matches and the leagues will help grow a fan base for clubs and the national teams”, he said.
Meanwhile, the teams competing in the three regional leagues announced by the NRFF arestated as follows:
SOUTH WEST LEAGUE:
1. Cowrie RFC
2. Police RFC
3. Lagos RFC
4. Hawckstar Athletics RFC
5. Racing RFC
6. Eco II RFC
7. Gosar RFC
8. Riyal Stallion
1. Kano RFC
2. Kaduna RFC
3. Zaria RFC
4. Sabon Gari RFC
5. Jos RFC
6. Kano RFC
7. Barewa RFC
SOUTH SOUTH/EAST LEAGUE
1. Abia RFC
2. Imo RFC
3. Delta RFC
4. Edo RFC