The Ghana Rugby Eagles managed to lift the 2018 Rugby Africa Bronze Cup (Bronze Cup) on the Nduom Sports Stadium in Elmina-Ghana by beating Mauritius by 23 points to 17 on 12 March 2018 in a nail-biting final.
The win ensured that Ghana Eagles was promoted to the 2019 Rugby Africa Silver Cup – a step closer to the mission of the Union’s President, Mr Herbert Mensah, to take the Ghana Eagles to the global stage of Rugby.
The President of Rugby Africa, Mr Abdelaziz Bougja, sent a congratulatory message to Mensah, in which he said:
“On behalf of Rugby Africa, please accept my sincere thanks and congratulations for hosting the 2018 edition of the Rugby Africa Bronze Cup in Elmina, Ghana. From the feedback I received, our executive member Mr Zahui as well as all the staff members from Rugby Africa and World Rugby, the match officials, and the visiting teams felt welcome and enjoyed your hospitality.
Please pass on my thanks to your team for a well organised and successful tournament. I know how much work is required to deliver a well-run competition and appreciate the efforts of Ghana Rugby Union. It is the second time you are hosting a regional competition on our behalf, and we value your collaboration to grow rugby in Africa and raise our standards.
Finally allow me to congratulate your team for their victory, winning the tournament while it was your first participation in the Bronze Cup is a big deal, and I wish you all the best in your future preparations for the Silver Cup 2019.”
Mensah, in response to Bougja’s letter, replied as follows:
“Dear Mr President
Your comments touch me. As Africans, hospitality is always a mark of our upbringing and we recognise that having been given the honour of staging this prestigious event that we make Africa Rugby proud.
The change in venue at a late stage in our preparation radically increased our various exposures, but we strived to ensure that we kept the word we gave when making the bid.
In winning and getting promoted to the Silver Cup, my plans were in line with all our previous discussions and our trajectory of development and success over the past three years is a vindication both in our planning and in the trust that you have placed in Ghana. Our programme of getting into rugby, development of women rugby and other areas of compliance have been undertaken as directed and with the close assistance and supervision of the excellent Coralie and your team.
My Brother, thank you once again, thank you.
Respectfully and with kind regards
PS. We will be submitting a bid for the 2019 Silver Cup (by which time the Accra Stadium will have been refurbished.)”
Mensah also said that Ghana Rugby is grateful for the support and guidance that the Union had over the years from its governing body, Rugby Africa and specifically from its President.
“When my administration and I took over the reins of Rugby in Ghana on 5 June 2014 with nothing to show after 11 years, my first step was to reach out to Rugby Africa for guidance on the way forward. That guidance together with a focus and relentless pursuit of the important and right things to do culminated in this sweet victory and step closer to the stage of global competitions,” Mensah said.
The Tournament Commissioner, Mr Charles Yapo, had the following to say on arriving back home after the tournament, “I arrived safely in my country. Thank you to the GRFU (Ghana Rugby Football Union) for all the attention we received throughout this friendly week.
Congratulations for this beautiful organisation of the competition and especially thank you to all volunteers who have contributed to its success. The best is yet to come.”
The first match on Saturday was played between Lesotho and Rwanda for the 3rd Place Playoff.
Rwanda managed to beat Lesotho by 32 points to 15 and survived relegation to the Rugby Africa Regional Challenge. Unfortunately, Lesotho, who managed to get promoted to the Bronze Cup only last year, will have to return to the bottom Rugby Africa Regional Challenge.
Mensah also said that the successful hosting of the Bronze Cup was a feather in the cap of Ghana as country as a whole, and not just to Ghana Rugby.
“We were honoured to be given the hosting rights uncontested for the second year in a row. With the forced change by the National Sports Authority (NSA) of the venue from Accra to Cape Coast the tournament hosting presented huge challenges and specific challenges and losses on the financial side of things.
Without our sponsors, this tournament could not have taken place, and I take my hat off for Mr Paul Kavanagh and the Golden Tulip Accra for their massive support. With that Panafrican Equipment, Komatsu, Interplast, the Gino Brands, Groupe Nduom, the GBC and others such as Ernest Chemists and Accra Brewery Limited all helped to make the 2018 Bronze Cup a significant milestone in the history of the sport of Ghana.”
Ghana Rugby is the official full member of both World Rugby and Rugby Afrique in Ghana-West Africa and is charged with the management and development of the game Rugby Union in the country.