The Ghana Rugby national training squad has started preparations in all seriousness for their international friendly encounters against Niger and Togo in September.
The international friendlies were initiated by Mr Herbert Mensah, President of the Ghana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) in an attempt to increase the quality and competitiveness of Ghana’s national team, the Eagles.
“The only international exposure for Ghana Rugby has been the annual Africa Rugby tournament that is either a sevens or a fifteens tournament which is totally inadequate to prepare us for getting into higher levels,” Mensah said.
In 2015 one friendly international was played in Accra against Togo that was won by the Ghana Eagles.
The Ghana Eagles managed to win the bronze cup during the Africa Rugby men’s sevens tournament earlier this year in Lome, Togo.
According to Mensah he had discussions with various other Rugby Federations from West Africa during last year’s Rugby World Cup and the idea to establish a West Africa Rugby Series (WARS) was received with great enthusiasm.
He continued to say that the idea behind the WARS is to launch a tournament similar to a combination of the Super Rugby and Rugby Championship tournaments between the Southern Hemisphere Rugby greats of New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina.
“Such a tournament will include both fifteens and sevens matches and will will cater for both men and women. It is also envisaged that a regional schools tournament will eventually become part of WARS,” he said.
Mensah added,” The big challenge is always to obtain funding for such a venture and we hope that we will be able to interest a global corporation doing business in the West Africa to make use of this opportunity to build brand goodwill and awareness.”
The September friendly internationals are at this stage scheduled to take place in Acrra between Ghana and Niger on the 4th of September as a fifteens match, while the encounter between Ghana and Togo on the 10th will be a sevens event.
The technical team under guidance of the President has started with gym training and both the fifteens and sevens players will undergo match preparations in Accra and Cape Coast.
According to the head of the technical team, Mr Simba Mangena, the international friendlies will help the players to think beyond local Rugby and hopefully inspire them to continue with keeping themselves in shape for greater things to come.
Clubs have also in the meantime started with preparations for the 2016/17 Ghana Rugby Club Championship (GRCC) that normally takes place between November and Febraury every year.
Internationally Rugby is also in the limelight with its re-admission to the Olympics after an absence of 92 years. The women’s matches are currently being played in Rio de Janeiro and the men’s sevens matches will start on the 9th of August.