Nigeria Rugby national team head coach Bronson Weir says he anticipates a “very physical battle” when his side takes on Ivory Coast on Wednesday in their West African Tri-Nations Championships opener at the Nduom Stadium in Elmina, Ghana.
The Black Stallions alongside hosts Ghana and the Ivory Coast will compete in the Championships which runs from Sunday, July 28 to Saturday, August 3 2019 with all matches holding at the Nduom Stadium, Elmina.
Speaking to the media after their first training session on Tuesday, Weir whose side arrived in Ghana on Monday morning said his charges are in high spirits ahead of their opener against Ivory Coast which comes by 12pm Nigerian time.
“The spirit is good, the guys are in high spirits, they know what the starting lineup is, the nerves are settled and we are looking forward to a great match tomorrow against Ivory Coast,” Weir said.
Ivory Coast opened their campaign with a 22-12 victory against hosts Ghana on Sunday and having arrived ahead of the rest of The Stallions’ contingent in order to monitor that match, Weir said he expects the Ivorians to start aggressively in the opening twenty minutes but believes his side will be up to the task of triumphing in the game which he says will be “a very physical battle”.
“They’re going to come up in the first twenty minutes and give us a very physical battle, so it will be high intensity but I think our boys are up for it, the conditioning coaches are taking care of that, it’s now up to the boys to take on the challenge and move forward.”
The South African said the seven new players he called up to the squad for the championships have integrated well into the team with the help of the more experienced members of the team and that it is now up to the debutantes to grab their opportunity in the tournament to lay a claim for a permanent place in the national team
“Definitely [the new players have blended well with the rest of the squad. The experience from overseas has also helped and the guys that have played here before have also helped settle those nerves it’s in their hands now and they need to take their opportunity.”
Nigeria open their West African Tri-Nations Championships campaign against Ivory Coast by 12pm on Wednesday at the Nduom Stadium, Elmina before taking on hosts Ghana at the same venue on Saturday, August 3, 2019.
The West African Tri-Nations Championships is supported by global rugby governing body, World Rugby, and is aimed at ensuring adequate competitive engagements for national teams.
The tournament will also be used by the Nigeria Rugby Football Federation to assess players ahead of the world cup qualifiers against Madagascar on December 1, 2019 in Antananarivo.
BLACK STALLIONS SQUAD FOR THE WEST AFRICAN TRI-NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIPS, ELIMINA, GHANA
Adeshina ABDULJELILI, Nwagbara Ricky EZENWA, Sunday BASSEY, Abrakson PETER, Suraj Umar IBRAHIM, John KURAH, Isaac SANI, David OYEKANMI, Samuel EKPO, Suraj IBRAHIM, Onome RICHARD, Olatunde SULAIMON, Godwin DINA OTORO, John ETIM
Monday OMOROGIEVA, Hassan MUHAMMED, Onoru-Oyia JATTO, Abdulmalik ATOMULAKU, Ezekiel TOM, Alfred OCHE, Nuhu IBRAHIM, Joshua ETIM, Jeremiah PETER, Daniel JOHN