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Nigeria beat Ghana to retain Middle East Africa Rugby championship

Nigeria have retained their Middle East Africa Rugby League Championship title after thrashing hosts Ghana 30-4 in the final.

They become the first team to successfully defend their title in the history of the competition.

The Green Hocks, led by young Betfred Super League players, St Helens’ half back Rio-Osayomwanbo Corkill and try-scoring Hull KR back rower Daniel Okoro, proved too strong for their Ghanaian counterparts as they established a 22-0 lead at the break.

Ghana picked up momentum at the start of the second half, scoring their first try courtesy Bless Mensah but that was not enough to stage a comeback.

Nigeria continued to dominate and added two tries to finish the game.

Speaking after the game, Nigeria’s head coach, Bolu Fagborun, commended his boys for the performance they put up.

He said that the lads stuck with the game plan, hence, the results.

“It was a fantastic occasion, the guys played really well,” he started.

“I wanted them to start hot and they did, kicked well, put Ghana under pressure and to play in the right parts of the field. They handled the conditions really well. We spoke a lot during the week about what this tournament meant for us and seeing whether this team can take us all the way to France 2025 and the World Cup, we really have challenged them to progress and they showed their ambition in the sport,” he continued.

Although the Ghana team was unsuccessful with their ‘host and win’ campaign, they have booked a place in the 2025 World Cup playoffs.

Head coach, Andy Gilvary, acknowledged that his side committed “too many errors.”

“You can’t play for only 40 minutes against Nigeria and expect to get a result. Too many errors early in the tackle count cost us dearly but credit to the boys; they dug in for the second half and turned it around. Nigeria are a slick outfit and we are not far off,” Gilvary added.

Daniel John, Isah Lawal, Tuoyo Egodo, Olisa Kelvin, Abdallah Balogun, Gabriel John, Rio Osayomwanbo, Ibrahim Suraj, Isa Omale, Emmanuel Onyekwe , Jude Abrackson, Daniel Okoro, Michael Ayodeji
(subs): Julian Godwin, Bashir Usman, Azuka Chika, Yuseef Akeem

Tries: Egodo (15), Ayodeji (20, 67), Okoro (25), Osman (39), Lawal (76)
Goals: John 3/6

Isaac Akuoko, Chris da Gama, John Bless Mensah, Desmond Geotrah, William Pearce Biney, Collins Ofosu, Sean Sabutey, Riddick Alibah, Philip Asomani, Nigel Sackey, Emmanuel AcheamPong, Bahah Bright, Oliver Puman
(Subs): Jonas Moorkaar, Levi Osei, Jordan Annan, Jonathon Adotey

Tries: Bless Mensah (44)

Goals: Da Gama 0/1

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