Saturday, July 18, 2009

Rugby Tournament: CAR Development Trophy, North

The tournament being held in the tiny republic of Togo, is a rugby festival for emerging African nations in Northern Africa.

Situated 32km north of Lome, the republics capital, this town has hosted the tournament comprising of national rugby teams from the hosts, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Mali, Burkino Faso and Niger. Chad withdrew and Togo 'B' made up the numbers.

After a week of intense competition finals day takes place this Saturday.

The Final
Niger v Ghana

Niger's only blemish during the week was a 11-11 draw with Mali. They defeated Benin 10-3 and hosts Togo 6-3 to reach the final.

Ghana easily defeated Togo 'B' 43-0 then had a hard 5-5 draw with Nigeria before defeating Burkino Faso 17-7 to determine the top position in Pool B.

Apart from the second Togo team, the playing standards look very even at this level of international rugby. A lot will depend upon injuries and who is left standing after an intensive week of rugby with daily temperatures between 25 and 30deg.

Previous Encounters
These two teams have never met before.

GWC Rugby Rankings: Africa Table-Ghana 17th, Niger 20th

Prediction: Ghana by 9 points

Teams not available

Other Matches
Playoff for 3rd-4th
Togo v Burkino Faso

There is little between all the teams. Hosts Togo and Burkino Faso could both easily have been in the final. Burkino Faso's loss to Ghana was a big disappointment as the Burkino team won last year's tournament. The hosts will also be very strong.

GWC Rugby Rankings: Africa Table-Burkino Faso 18th, Togo 22nd

Prediction: Burkino Faso by 12 points.

Playoff 5th-6th
Mali v Nigeria

Again not a lot between these teams. Mali drew 11-11 with Niger who is in the final, whilst Nigeria drew 5-5 with Ghana the other finalist!

GWC Rugby Rankings: Africa Table-Nigeria 19th, Mali 21st

Prediction: Nigeria by 6 points

Teams not available

Playoff 5th-6th
Benin v Togo 'B'

Togo 'B' was the fill-in team and Benin should win comfortably.

Prediction: Benin by 30 points.

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