On 12th December, volunteer rugby coach, Jack Beard, organised (and refereed) a tournament for the school teams he has been working with for the previous five weeks. The tournament featured four boys and four girls teams from around Nima, a poor suburb in the Greater Accra region known for its’ bustling street market.
Ghanaian athleticism lends itself to the 7’s game of Rugby, with the boys playing full contact and the girls playing a ‘three touch’ variation. Despite the hard and dusty ground the big hits were flying in!
Rugby is a growing sport in Ghana and it is commonplace that United Through Sport volunteer coaches are asked to represent for the Ghanaian National team in organised matches both domestically and internationally.
Present at the tournament was Salim ‘Amuzu’ Amuzuloh, the extremely charismatic Director of Rugby Development for Accra. Amuzu was unable to contain his delight at some of the flowing moves and technical tackling on show under the unforgiving African morning sun.
Wearing yellow strips were Unity School, an extremely well organised team that like to run straight at their opposition. They faced the physical and strong Abawana team in the first semi-final defeating the ‘All Whites’ in a pulsating encounter fit for a final. Unity eventually triumphing 15 points to 5.
The victorious girls team came from K-13 school, stealing Queens’ crown with an emphatic and incident packed 30-15 win that you would struggle to guess wasn’t full contact rules!
Despite individual brilliance, many thought the other finalists of the boys’ competition, Wilberforce, would be steamrolled by Unity after a slightly fortuitous progression in the semis. The Wilberforce team that stood between Unity and glory took an early lead, capitalising on a loose ball with a pacy counter attack to go in front. They could have extended this lead before half time only to be disallowed a second Try, the referee citing a knock on in the build-up as the reason for the decision. The Unity team used the half time break to regroup and came out strongly in the second half, eventually seizing the glory with a 15-10 victory in a great display of skilled, breathless and committed Rugby in difficult conditions.
The teams openly conversed with each other, enjoying the occasion the competition brought before starting their Christmas vacations, many pleading with Jack to organise holiday training workshops so they can continue practising outside of term time.
The passion in young people to be involved in Ghanaian Rugby continues to grow and United Through Sport plays a vital role in this emerging sport.