High flying Barewa Rugby Club of Kano at the weekend defeated Cowrie Rugby Club Lagos 13-5 to retain the Nigeria Rugby Football Federation (NRFF) President Cup held at the main bowl of the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.
The game put together by NRFF to know the overall 2018 champions of rugby teams in Nigeria, saw Barewa RFC, champion of last year’s edition, successfully defended the cup.
Tries from Joshua Etim and Sani Muhammed assisted Barewa RFC to get an early lead of 13-0. But Cowrie hit back immediately through Jeremiah Peters unconverted try to earn Cowrie first point.
Both teams fought hard to have the game under control through a strong contest after which Joshua Etim’s superb run in the 30th minute put Barewa ahead in the game.
Man of the match and Barewa’s captain, Nuhu Ibrahim, created the second try after picking the ball from a loose end before releasing it to Sani Muhammed on the left to give Barewa Second try in the 60th minute of the encounter.
Cowrie team without their captain, Onoru Jatto and fast wing-man, Christian Ogar, launched endless attacks on Barewa defence, forcing their opponents to be under pressure.
Cowrie pushed hard to equal scores when they scored a try of their own through penalty. All efforts made by the Lagos-based side to win the tie proved abortive as Barewa maintained 13-5 lead to earn their back to back victory.
Barewa RFC received N300,000 cash gift for winning the President Cup.
Speaking at the final, Cowrie RFC player, who is also the captain of the Nigeria rugby national team, Azeez Ladipo, said the absence of some key players in their team affected his team’s performance, while commending Barewa RFC for retaining the title.
NRFF’s president Kelechukwu Mbagwu said the final proved that rugby in Nigeria is fast developing.
“I am delighted with the performance of both teams in the President Cup which I initiated. Rugby in Nigeria started in the North and over the years teams from the region have given their best to always be at the top. Barewa has proved that they are true champions.
“The President Cup was held last in 2016 in Abuja and Barewa outshined Cowrie and now they won it again. The Nigeria rugby under my administration has assisted to ensure rugby is played in all regions in Nigeria. As at this moment we have 24 teams in Nigeria, I believe by next year we will have more competitive league, as more teams will be involved. The players are my priority I will not relent to give them the best,” he said.