“Playing for Samurai has been the most humbling yet motivating experience of my career. Being a part of this family has been an honour and I hope I have left the jersey in a better place than when I received it.”
James Murphy, Samurai Barracudas Player
Samurai Barracudas were delighted to retain their Independence 7s title in Lagos, Nigeria after a tough final against Cowrie RFC. The team, made up of players from five different nations, met for the first time on the Friday in Lagos and were put through their paces by coach Christian Hitt.
The team finished top of their pool on day 1 of the tournament with wins over Sabongari, Blue Bulls and Racing. The next day saw Samurai up against English team Merlins in the Quarter Final. A convincing win put them through to a semi final against talented Barewa a team from Kano in Northern Nigeria. Barewa, included Nigerian International Nuhu Ibrahim, were unlikely not to score as the Samurai Barracudas stingy defence and domination of possession resulted in a 36 win for the invitation side.
In the Final, Cowrie RFC started well taking the game to their opponents with power and pace. However, the more experienced Samurais absorbed the early pressure before hitting back with two tries in the first half. The Barracudas maintained their possession and pressure in the second half as they added two more tries to take the game away from Cowrie RFC.
The 8th edition of the Lagos Independence Rugby 7s, came to an exciting end at the Lagos Polo club with Samurai Barracudas beating Cowrie RFC of Lagos 26-0 to win the coveted title for the second consecutive time.
The two day event which featured 12 teams drawn from different parts of Nigeria, as well as South Africa and the United Kingdom, attracted a large crowd of rugby enthusiasts showing the growth of the sport in Nigeria.
Azeez Ladipo, who is captain of the Nigerian national team, maintained that the final match result is not itself an indictment on the standard of the game in the country instead he described it as a lesson which would greatly aid the development of home based players.
Portuguese star Pedro Leal, who captained the Samurai Barracudas and won the tournament MVP award, enthused that Nigerian rugby players are certainly gifted enough play against teams on the Sevens World Series.
Day 1 Results
Samurai Barracudas 57 - Sabongari (Nigeria) 0
Samurai Barracudas 57 - Blue Bulls (SA) 5
Samurai Barracudas 42 - Racing (Nigeria) 0
Day 2 Results
Quarter Final - Samurai Barracudas - Merlins (England) 0
Semi Final - Samurai Barracudas 36 - Barewa RFC (Nigeria) 0
Final - Samurai Barracudas 26 - Cowrie RFC (Nigeria) 0
Pedro Leal (Captain)
Manager: Fahad Adil
Coach: Christian Hitt
Physio: George Odhiambo
Samurai Barracudas with Barewa U15s #WinnersAreGrinners
Updated 13:43 - 3 Nov 2017 by Mark Dean