Hosts Nigeria won the 2019 MEA Championship, defeating Morocco 38-10 at the TBS Cricket Oval, home of Lagos Cricket Club. Skipper and loose forward, London Broncos Sadiq Adebiyi scored a try in each half, Nigeria leading 18-4 at the break.
“We are delighted with the victory,” said Nigeria head coach Joe Mbu. “The score line does not reflect the effort from Morocco and, for long periods, it could have gone either way. The achievement of winning the trophy on our debut will stay long in our memory, and the intention is now to push on developing the sport here, there is clearly a demand for it.”
As he had in the semi final against Ghana, hooker Bolu Fagborun opened the scoring for Nigeria with a strong dart from close in after only two minutes, winger Sam Prince doubling the lead when he flicked a loose ball into his hands and raced 80 metres to cross; Isah Lawal-Saylawa with his second conversion.
Morocco went close to scoring when winger Soufiane Kissi just missed a kick through to the corner and Adebiyi made them pay when he powered through a host of tackles just after the half hour. The North Africans hit back with a well worked try, the ball passing through three pairs of hands for prop Adam Eddiche to burst through a gap to score.
Just before the break Lawal-Saylawa converted a penalty and six minutes into the second half the influential Nigerian scrum half broke through to score just wide of the posts. A dispute after an alleged shoulder charge then saw him sin binned, along with Morocco’s Samuel Akpabio.
Man of the match Adebiyi took a short ball from Jubril Olajide to score his second try which was converted by winger Gabriel John, who also added the extras after pacey centre Marcel Izuchykwu broke on the outside. Gabriel John then claimed Nigeria’s seventh try following a superb cut out pass from Ibrahim Nuhu.
Morocco’s standoff Iliass Laachiri took a great pass from dummy half to score a consolation try, which he converted.
NIGERIA 38 : Daniel John 2. Sam Prince 3. Marcel Izuchykwu 4. Nosa Agwoje 5. Gabriel John 6. Jubril Olajide 7. Isah Lawal-Saylawa 8. Yusf Akeem 9. Boluaji Fagborun 10. Kelvin Azuka 11. Alex Richard 12. Wahab Ajibola Oki 13. Sadiq Adebiyi
Subs: 14. Ibrahim Nuhu 15. Shedrack Kalu 16. Usman Basiru 17. Samuel Akpabio : Tries: Fagborun (2), Prince (5), Adebiyi (32, 57), Lawal-Saylawa (46), Izuchykwu (57), G. John (66) : Goals: Lawal-Saylawa 3, G. John 2
MOROCCO 10 : Yassiue Oujbor 2. Soufiane Kissi 3. Aissa El Hamdaoui 4. Hani Mbark 5. Amine Belechas 6. Iliass Laachiri 7. Souhail Ait Alla 8. Badreddine Medkouri 9. Mohssin Afouks 10. Adam Eddiche 11. Elabdioui Oussama 12. Bilal Zariouh 13. Ilias El Fizazi
Subs: 14. Marouane Mounwir 15. Amine Eddaqquouni 16. Ismael Edhouz 17. Ahmed El Faiz : Tries: Eddiche (35), Laachiri (70) : Goal: Laachiri
In the third-place play off game, Ghana defeated Cameroon 10-4 in a tightly-fought contest. Ghana went ahead on 13 minutes when winger Samuel Aboagye Sarpong went over, the only score of the first half. Cameroon crossed at the start of the second through Nguele Hermand, and it was level until the final minute when Ghana loose forward Eric Tettegah crashed over for the winning score, which he converted.
GHANA 10 : William Pearce Biney 2. John Bless Mensah 3. Michael Quaye 4. Collins Kweku Ofosu 5. Samuel A. Aboagye Sarpong 6. Reece Connor Rance 7. Chris Da Gama 8. Marcus Alexander Neil 9. Philip Mensah 10. Nigel Nii Ampim Sackey 11. Riddick Aprokwah Aliba 12. Jordan Annan 13. Eric Tettegah
Subs: 14. Desmond Atsu Geotrah 15. Marshall Nortey 16 Benjamin Anane 17. Oliver Puman : Tries: Sarpong (13), Tettegah (79) : Goal: Tettegah
CAMEROON 4 : Yohan Kwedi 2. Embella Mouhamed 3. Emmanuel De Porta 4. Patrick Nkouak 5. Nguele Hermand 6. Yannick Noah Simon 7. Nanga Olama 8. Lamere Oudi Mfochive 9. Geordane Nguefack 10. Armel Damdja 11. Hamadou Moussa 12. Bidjana Jean Claude 13. Fabrice Yepmo Joufang
Subs: 14. Arnaud Ndjeng 16. Watio Frank, 17. Fosso Ledoux : Try: Hermand (47)