Friends of Rwandan Rugby (FoRR), a U.K.-based charity organisation, have boosted the training of the national rugby team – Silverbacks – ahead of their away clash against Côte d’Ivoire on November 23.
FoRR are long-time partners with Rwandan Rugby Federation (RRF) and they have been visiting the country for the past 12 years where they offer capacity building clinics to administrators and coaching to children in schools as well as donating rugby equipment.
This week, ten officials including coaches from Scotland, Wales, England, France, and South Africa were in Kigali conducting training sessions at Amahoro Stadium to boost the Silverbacks’ preparations for the Africa Silver Cup game against Ivory Coast.
FoRR trustee Matthew Phillips says that as a charity, they have come to Rwanda every year to develop rugby around the country in primary and secondary schools so as to help children to become better people in social life through the sport of rugby.
The charity emphasises that rugby is built on values and camaraderie, and these values make a difference to the lives of the trained children.
This year’s occasion, he pointed out, RRF president Tharcisse Kamanda asked them to come train with the national team in preparation for the World Cup qualifier against Ivory Coast.
“Silverbacks have improved massively (in terms of standards) since I started coming to Rwanda in 2013,” said Matthew, before challenging that, however, the journey ahead is still long and the team needs stronger support from the government and other stakeholders to reach the next level.
This year, FoRR donated over a tone of rugby equipment including playing kits, shoes, and balls, while they donated over 400 balls to RRF last year.
At the end of the week-long training on Wednesday, FoRR organised a friendly match between the Silverbacks and a select international team at Amahoro Stadium, which ended 11-8 in favour of the Silverbacks.
Having watched South Africa make history by defeating England to lift the 2019 World Rugby Cup, RRF boss Kamanda, who recently returned from Japan, is confident the Silverbacks are on the right footing.
“The team is ready to battle Ivory Coast. We believe we can defeat them, and we look forward to a positive outcome.”
He further noted that the scrum position, in particular, is still short of a few strapping but he was confident head coach Claude Ezoua has plans to fill the gap.
Should the Silverbacks edge Côte d’Ivoire, they will progress to the next round to face Kenya in a home-and-away tie.