The President and Board Chairman of the Ghana Rugby Football Union (Ghana Rugby), Herbert Mensah, has announced the intent of the Ghana Eagles to take part in the 2019 Rugby Africa international tournaments in a statement from his residence in Accra-Ghana.
The 2019 Rugby Africa tournament schedule for some of the competitions were announced by means of an invitation letter to participating unions this week.
The first tournament scheduled for 2019 is the U20 Barthes Trophy that will take place between 25 March 2019 and 14 April 2019 in three Pools. Venues for the tournaments are yet to be announced as participation Unions have till 15 January 2019 to put in a tender to host.
The Pools drawn for the U20 Barthes Trophy are:
Pool A: Namibia, Tunisia, Kenya, Senegal (25 March 2019 to 27 March 2019)
Pool B: Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast, Maroc, Madagascar (1 April 2019 to 7 April 2019)
Pool C: Uganda, Algeria, Zambia, Ghana (8 April 2019 to 14 April 2019)
Should Ghana win in Pool C it will be promoted to Pool B in 2020. This will be the first time for Ghana Rugby that it participates in a U20 international tournament.
The winner of Pool A will qualify for the 2019 Junior World Rugby Trophy.
According to Mensah the participation is another milestone in Ghana Rugby’s history since his administration took over on 5 June 2014.
“The future of Ghana Rugby lies in its youth development programme spearheaded by its World Rugby “Get Into Rugby” programme. We will, for the first time, see tomorrow’s Ghana Eagles in action.” Mensah said.
The other international tournament that was announced by Rugby Africa is the 2019 Rugby Africa Silver Cup that has been expanded to eight teams with the amalgamation of the Bronze Cup that was won by Ghana Rugby in 2018 and the Silver Cup.
The Pools drawn for the 2019 Silver Cup are:
Pool A: Madagascar, Ghana, Botswana, Nigeria (6 June 2019 to 17 June 2019)
Pool B: Ivory Coast, Senegal, Mauritius, Rwanda (13 June 2019 to 24 June 2019)
The winners of the two Pools will play off in a November final for promotion to the 2020 Gold Cup.
Rugby Africa has stated that the dates announced are subject to change and that venues will be announced after hosting tenders have been allocated in January 2020.
Ghana Rugby successfully hosted a men’s fifteens tournament in 2017 (Regional Challenge) and in 2018 (Bronze Cup) and managed to win both the competitions.
According to Mensah to the award of hosting rights to Ghana in both 2017 and 2018 was a feather in the Union’s cap and that it indeed made the rugby world sit up and take notice of Ghana.
“Even though we had no support from our government in both 2017 and 2018 we managed to fly Ghana’s flag high with both the tournaments hosted in Ghana that brought guests from many countries to Ghana, and took Ghana to many guests in the world through match broadcasts,” he said.
Ghana Rugby needs to show it’s intent to host any of the tournaments by 1 December and Mensah said that careful consideration will be given to whether it will tender for the hosting.
“My philosophy is that Ghana should try its utmost to host any and all international tournaments as it has enormous benefits to not only the sporting discipline but indeed to the country.
The decision to apply for hosting rights must, however, be taken with due consideration to resource availability and specifically to the extent that support can be garnered from the government and corporate sponsors,” Mensah said.
According to Mensah the success of Ghana Rugby to date can partly be ascribed to the support it had from private institutions such as the Pan African Equipment Group, Komatsu, the Golden Tulip Accra, Interplast, the Gino Brands, Sunda International and others.
“I trust and hope that our friends will again come forward in 2019 to support Ghana Rugby in its mission to build character in Ghana through its values of integrity, passion, teamwork, discipline and respect and to showcase Ghana as a proud nation to the rest of the world.
As a Union we are fully committed to providing our sponsors with a return their investment through maximum exposure and goodwill towards their brands,” Mensah concluded.