Rugby union in Ivory Coast

Last updated

Rugby union in Ivory Coast
F5f4f1d0734f015b98b66d455884a9e0.jpg
The national team.
CountryIvory Coast
Governing bodyFédération Ivoirienne de Rugby
National team(s) Ivory Coast
Nickname(s)The Elephants
(French: Les éléphants)
First played1946
Registered players5,383 [1]
Clubs14 [1]
National competitions

Rugby union in Ivory Coast is essentially amateur, with some degree of semi-professionalization in its top-flight league and the national rugby union team.

Contents

The sport is popular among school children, but the rugby union playing population in Ivory Coast is still relatively small with only 14 clubs. There are around 5,383 registered players, [1] and the game takes in people from all walks of life. [2] As of 22 June 2014, the men's national side are ranked 47th in the world. [3]

Governing body

Rugby union in the Ivory Coast is administered by the Fédération Ivoirienne de Rugby. [1] It was founded in 1961 and became affiliated to the International Rugby Board in 1988. [2] [4]

History

The sport is mainly played in and around the former capital Abidjan. [4]

The first recorded game in the Ivory Coast was just after the Second World War, in 1946, when Mme Andre Benois organised a match between two teams of expatriates. [5] They used an improvised ball made from the inner tube of a tyre. [5]

The game was further developed by French schoolmasters working in the country. [6]

As a former French colony, the country has tended to come under the French sphere of influence, and many top players, including Max Brito played in France. [4] Although the origins of Ivorian rugby go back to the 1960s and earlier, real growth came about when the paid French official Jean-François Turon managed to get the game adopted by Abidjan University at the turn of the 1980s, but it is François Dali who is seen as the father of Ivorian rugby, and his son, Athanase Dali, was the national captain during the 1990s. [4]

Ivorian delegates were amongst those who went to the centenary congress of the International Rugby Football Board in 1986. [7]

Ivory Coast is a founding member of the Confederation of African Rugby (CAR), which was launched officially in January 1986, in Tunis, Tunisia. Rugby officials from Tunisia, Morocco, Senegal, Tanzania, Kenya, the Seychelles and Madagascar also attended. [8]

National team

The Ivory Coast national rugby union team, nicknamed ‘The Elephants’ (French : Les éléphants), is a third-tier rugby union side representing the Ivory Coast. The national team is a relatively recent creation. It was not even in existence when the first (invitation only) Rugby World Cup was played in 1987. They played their first international in 1990 against Zimbabwe. [4] Their presence at the 1995 Rugby World Cup wasn't particularly memorable, with an 89-0 loss to Scotland in the opening match, a worthy performance to France in their 54-18 loss, in a game where the Ivorians managed to score two tries, and a 29-11 and final defeat to Tonga. The Ivory Coast came close to qualifying for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, but were eliminated by Namibia.

1995 World Cup

The Ivory Coast's first—and thus far only—appearance at the Rugby World Cup was in 1995. Namibia, a former South African territory, had narrowly missed out on qualifying for the World Cup because they had rested a number of key players in the qualifying rounds. [6] Ivory Coast slipped past them, as well as past Zimbabwe and the third African favourite Morocco. [6]

Ivory Coast went into the World Cup optimistic, with coach Claude Ezoua quoted as saying: "We want to prove to the world that there is more to African rugby than just South Africa." [6] Although Namibia and Zimbabwe had qualified for the RWC at different times, both of these countries were firmly within the South African orbit, and had mostly white players who spoke English and/or Afrikaans. [9] The Ivory Coast, on the other hand, was in West Africa and was French- rather than English-speaking. Moreover, as none of its players was white, their success has been seen by many as a positive sign that black Africa was emerging as a force in world rugby. [4]

The composition of the World Cup squad also revealed interesting things about Ivorian rugby. 25 out of 26 were Ivorian-born (the exception being Max Brito, who was born in Senegal); [6] half the squad was based and played in France; [6] and many of the players were originally from Abidjan's harbour district. [6] At this point, eight of the country's ten senior clubs were based in the capital. [6] As an incentive, many of them had been paid the equivalent of £1.25 to turn up to training. [6]

Once in the World Cup, the Ivory Coast's fortunes waned. Captain Athanase Dali was injured playing against Scotland who won 89-0, and fearless tackler Max Brito suffered a spinal injury when he went for a Tongan. [10]

Since 1995

Ivory Coast compete for the Africa Cup, but have never ranked high in the competition for it. As the result of its 2013 Africa Cup performance, in which Les Éléphants defeated Zambia, Mauritius and Morocco, Ivory Coast were promoted from Division 1C to Division 1B of the competition. [11] [12]

See also

Related Research Articles

Namibia national football team National association football team

The Namibia national football team represents Namibia in men's international football and is controlled by the Namibia Football Association. They have never qualified for the FIFA World Cups but have made three appearances in the Africa Cup of Nations. The team represents both FIFA and Confederation of African Football (CAF).

Siaka Tiéné

Siaka Tiéné is an Ivorian former professional footballer who primarily played as a left back. Having begun at ASEC Mimosas in his native Ivory Coast and Mamelodi Sundowns in South Africa, he went on to spend most of his professional career in France.

Zimbabwe national rugby union team

The Zimbabwe national rugby union team, nicknamed the Sables, represents the African nation of Zimbabwe in international competition, and is administered by the Zimbabwe Rugby Union. While sides representing the colony of Rhodesia have played as early as 1910, the modern day Zimbabwe rugby team did not play its first test until 1981, against Kenya. Zimbabwe has competed in two World Cups, in 1987 and 1991, in place of South Africa, who were sanctioned by the IRB at the time due to apartheid. Zimbabwe is categorized as Tier 3 Development One, which prioritizes Zimbabwe over other nations due to historical success as well as popularity of rugby in the nation.

Max Brito is a former rugby union player on the Ivory Coast rugby team. As a result of injuries sustained at the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa, he was paralysed. As of 2007 he could only move his head, torso, and an arm.

Ivory Coast national rugby union team National rugby union team of Ivory Coast

The Ivory Coast national rugby union team, nicknamed Les Éléphants, participates in the annual Africa Cup and are considered a third tier rugby team.

Boubacar Barry Ivorian retired footballer

Boubacar "Copa" Barry is an Ivorian former professional footballer who played as a goalkeeper. Having begun his career at ASEC Mimosas he moved to France in 2001 where he played for Rennes' reserve team. In 2003, he joined Belgian side Beveren where he stayed four years. He then spent ten years at K.S.C. Lokeren Oost-Vlaanderen amassing 239 league appearances. At international level, he represented the Ivory Coast national team before his retirement from international football in March 2015, but continued to play for his club, Lokeren. Exactly four years after his international retirement, Barry retired also professionally as a player in March 2019.

The African Leopards are an African rugby union representative team, organised by the Confederation of African Rugby (CAR). The side will play an important role in promoting rugby in Africa. The Leopards are the first ever Pan-African representative rugby union team.

Ivory Coast at the Rugby World Cup

The Ivory Coast's only Rugby World Cup appearance was in 1995 when they were placed in Pool D with France, Scotland and Tonga.

Rugby union in Kenya

Rugby union in Kenya is a popular sport, in particular due to the success of the Kenya national rugby sevens team in the rugby sevens format, and tournaments such as the Safari Sevens, which has been growing yearly, and now includes numerous international teams.

Rugby union in Madagascar is a popular team sport. As of September 2018, Madagascar is ranked 50th worldwide by World Rugby (WR), and boasts over 22,540 registered players and more than 410 rugby clubs. Although Madagascar lacks a professional competition as it is one of the poorest countries in the world, it does possess a national club competition that is extensively covered in the national print media, as well as having matches televised. Rugby is considered the national sport of Madagascar.

Rugby union in Tunisia is a significant sport. They are currently ranked 39th in the world, with 15830 registered players, and 72 clubs.

Rugby union in Zimbabwe

Rugby union in Zimbabwe is a popular sport and ranks after association football and cricket as one of the oldest and most popular sports in the country. The Zimbabwe national team, commonly known as the Sables, have been playing international rugby since the early 1900s and have made appearances in two Rugby World Cups Zimbabwe at the Rugby World Cup on two occasions. As with rugby union in Namibia, the country's lack of a professional structure, and opportunity for player's to earn an income playing rugby, has been a problem for national organisers.

Rugby union in Senegal is a moderately popular sport. The Senegal national team is currently ranked 54th by World Rugby.

Africa Womens Sevens

The Africa Women's Sevens is the continental championship for women's international rugby sevens in Africa. The tournament sanctioned and sponsored by Rugby Africa which is the rugby union governing body for the continent.

Athanase Dali is a former Ivorian rugby union player. He played as a fly-half.

The 2012 Africa Cup was the twelfth edition of the Africa Cup, an annual international rugby union tournament for African nations organised by the Confederation of African Rugby (CAR). The tournaments between 2012 and 2014 will also serve as qualifiers for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The 2013 Africa Cup will be the thirteenth edition of the Africa Cup, an annual international rugby union tournament for African nations organised by the Confederation of African Rugby (CAR). This tournament, as well as the 2012 and 2014 editions of it, will serve as the qualifiers for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The 2014 Africa Cup was the fourteenth edition of the Africa Cup, an annual international rugby union tournament for African nations organised by the Confederation of African Rugby (CAR). The tournament, as well as the 2012 and 2013 editions of it, served as the qualifiers for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Qualifying for the 2019 Rugby World Cup for Africa Rugby began in June 2016, with 14 teams competing. On 18 August 2018, Namibia qualified for the World Cup by winning the 2018 Rugby Africa Gold Cup, defeating Kenya, who finished second and advanced to the repechage tournament.

Wonlo Coulibaly is an Ivorian professional footballer, who plays as a defender, primarily as a left back, for TP Mazembe and the Ivory Coast national team.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 "Ivory Coast". International Rugby Board. Archived from the original on 18 October 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
  2. 1 2 http://wesclark.com/rrr/islamic_rugby.html "Islam and Rugby" on the Rugby Readers review retrieved 2 July 2009
  3. "IRB World Rankings". International Rugby Board. 16 June 2014. Archived from the original on 23 June 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Bath p 69.
  5. 1 2 Richards, Chapter 9 From Muller to Mias, p 164.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Richards, Chapter 13 Resisting the Inevitable, p 237.
  7. Starmer-Smith, p186
  8. http://carugby.com/history/ History of the CAR, retrieved 24 June 2009
  9. Namibia had previously been a territory of South Africa (South West Africa), while Zimbabwe had provided South Africa with a number of players such as Ray Mordt.
  10. Richards, Chapter 13 Resisting the Inevitable, p 241
  11. Confederation of African Rugby (2 October 2013). "Résultat des compétitions CAR 2013" (PDF). Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  12. Janick Barthès (29 June 2013). "Africa Cup 1C Day 3". Confederation of African Rugby. Archived from the original on 24 October 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2014.