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Rugby player says Nigeria will qualify for 2019 World Cup


Lagos – A Nigerian, Ike Onwukanjo, playing rugby in the U.S on Thursday expressed his optimism that Nigeria would qualify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Onwukanjo, a student of the University at Buffalo, New York, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) online that with adequate preparation Nigeria would hold its own in the World Cup.
“I believe that the team can qualify if the right group of players can be brought together, if the right number of training is also given.”
Onwukanjo said he would love to represent Nigeria if invited, saying that he would never shy away from helping to develop rugby in Nigeria.
“If I am invited by the Nigeria Rugby Football Federation (NRFF), I will love to come; I always want to be part of anything that grows the game in Nigeria.
“I love to represent my country at a high level.”
He expressed optimism that rugby would be a sport to reckon with in the near future.
“With the coming of the Olympic Games, NRFF’s major efforts will bring the sport to a higher level, rugby in Nigeria will grow great within the coming years,” he said.
Ike began his rugby career as a sophomore at New Rochelle High School and joined UB Men’s Rugby upon his arrival at Buffalo, where he quickly established himself as a starter on both their 15s and sevens sides.
His strong play in sevens led to an invitation to last year’s Northeast ODA Sevens Camp, where he had the opportunity to train with some of the best sevens players and coaches from across the Northeast.
The NRFF had planned to camp the Black Stallions for 10 days in Rabat, Morocco, ahead of the Africa Cup 1B and also to qualify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
The Africa Cup tournament is scheduled from July 9 to July 17.
The 2019 Rugby World Cup will be hosted across 12 venues in Japan from Sept. 20 to Nov. 2 with the final slated for the Yokohama Stadium.
The stadium hosted the 2002 Football World Cup final between Brazil and Germany. (NAN)

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