Wednesday, 18 July 2007
Monday, 16 July 2007
TO GO OR NOT TO GO?
Where's the bus?.......................... 'We can't leave for
HELD HOSTAGE AT
Boredom and hunger descend we head to
After 60 minutes call for service was met with "ready in 5 minutes"
After 90 minutes " I want my money back", response "sorry sir I can't give refunds".
THE 'ROAD' TO
Quick Nando's load up at tollgate followed by TGH's quick expressway release
3 Vehicle hazard light flashing convoy........... top speed 60 mph
highlights - Will King's karaoke 'Becky' greatest hits........... the guys a star
a detour 4x4 bush route........ the track was so bad that we met one truck on the way. No self respecting armed robber would waste his time in such a forlorn spot.
the eventual submission to FATE............ a mass visitation to dey bush on the side of an expressway filled with speeding erratic tankers at 11.00 pm
A 200 bed marbled 4 star in the middle of a quiet city. A jewel how the hell did such a cool spot end up out here. Great service, great ambience, clean rooms, pool, gym, squash, tennis, nightclub, etc.
Our base for 3 nights, yes
0730 - Get on the bus or get left behind, hence we leave or two stragglers to find their way.
0745 - Ilorin Stadium as with all things in this tranquil city is not what you would expect........... great multi sport facilities
0800 - Rob and Andy have the guys training on the outer fields of the state stadium, they knuckle down to a 90 minute session; no complaints and just 3 group water breaks........... Wow!
1000 - Coaching Clinic
5 Big Bo Bo Bo Boszas for...........................
300 screaming youngsters in
Star of the show - 'Captain Victor' watch out for this kid he watches rugby whenever he can and gate crashed the clinic as he was too young and belonged to none of the invited schools. It still did not stop this (pint sized George Gregan ............... alas he will end up being a scrum half) kid ordering 13 and 14 year olds around.
Meanwhile Fred and Andy are conducting an IRB level 1 course for some 34 hopefuls......... later reports indicated that not only was it highly successful, but they had never encountered such a passion for the game.
1500 - A healthy sportsmans lunch.................... Hot Puff puff (Naija donuts) washed down with a bottle of Coca Cola. Packaged and served by the LNRFC squad.
1630 A medal ceremony conducted by Fred Ollows our Kenya RFU IRB Instructor and Tunde Aiyegbusi.
0800 - More training, a nasty 3 hour session, I have not seen LNRFC train this hard in last 3 seasons........................ things are looking up. No whinging bar myself; 32 degrees heat; 4 group water breaks........................
1300 - Day 2 of the coaches course is underway in a conference suite, word has got around and now the 34 prospective caoches have swelled to 60 in number. Only the original 34 make it through, but that is the level of enthusiasm shown.
1545 - Missed the bus back to the stadium, end up catching a cab with Simi and some other stragglers.
Warm up and drills and then kick off against Kwara Dynamite RFC, in front of 600 bemused spectators. Dynamite beats us hands down with in Commitment and passion stakes, luckily technical nous wins the day. Reminds me of early LNRFC, watch out for Kwara Dynamite in the future........................
Highlight - At half time a full blooded match between two female sides and I mean full blooded; these women normally train with the guys..........Ouch!!
The day ends with a Cup presentation and the donation of a set of shirts to Kwara Dynamite, coupled with this was a donation of balls, post protectors, maul pads, tackle bags and a scrummage machine ....................... still awaiting delivery from
Back to the Kwara Hotel where an unbiased court session is held, this results in certain individuals ending up embarassed and poorer.
An uneventful trip back to
The evening sees us pitch up at the Old Boys Reunion Dinner, where the likes of Magnus Macauley regaled the squad with tales of his exploits in yester years
Our sponsors, notably VirginNigeria where duly lauded for their support.
Missed training .... N3k fine...........
Looked like a 'real fun' session, the guys are covered head to foot in mud due to bathing in a waterlogged polo field.
Highlight - The 'Faith' Healer
Osahon turns his ankle and heads for the stands where he proceeds to lie prostate on the floor. Much oohing and aahing is heard from our fallen hero. Babs get him some ice as soon as it is applied to his ankle a scream pierces the air. Os shoo's Babs away; prognosis end of playing tour for the big man.
Sargent Ikhoma (Head Mopol) one our armed mobile police guards had other ideas,he hitches his sub machine gun over his shoulder, barrel pointing downwards. He then leans over Os, picks up the ice bag and applies it to the sprained ankle. Osahon winces, but not a sound he maketh. Head Mopol gives him a cursory glance, by chance the gun barrel is hovering over Osahon's ankle. This 'doc' is from the tough school and he begins to vigourously massage the ice into the victims ankle. Not a sound emits from Big Os as realises Head Mopol means business. The vigourous ice massage continues for about 5 minutes. Persppiration glistens on the Sargents forehead, the gun barrel casually bumps against the patients lower leg.
At last Head Mopol relents and barks an order, "Oya, I want you to march up and down, let the blood flow". A traumatised Os launches himself barefoot up and down the wet concrete terrace, lest his blood begins to flow externally rather than................... 5 minutes and many laps later big Os is good to go........ Sprained ankle!! WHAT sprained ankle?
At that moment if if you had asked Osahon to play two back to back games he would have. Ahhh!...... the Power of Faith..
1430 - We comandeer the bus for a quick raid on Lekki Arts and Crafts market, Macca, Chima, Rob, Hisham and I. On arrival we are surrounded by traders who have not sold much due to the rain. Macca goes all blue and ends up wiith canvas purchases of a similar hue. Chima gets a nostalgic urge for river and village scences and duly makes some traders day. Hisham plums for an Ijaw masquerades bulls head mask complete with horns.... (remind me to introduce him to SANE when we return). Whilst Rob the main instigator behind our trip plumbed the depths acroos the road.
1700 - Chief (Mrs) Allan hosted a sumptuous dinner for the tour party and some 50 guests at the equally salubrious Regents Dining Rooms. I t was also Captain Wole's birthday, he duly made a speech and distributed some cake.......... mmmm not bad. Osahon duly ran through a well rehearsed speech and thanked every living creature between
Fabulous night Thank you to our hostess.
7/07 - Rob has gone mad, he told me that I would be playing; I'm thinking of putting in a call for help to Help the Aged. Worse still the captain has leant me a pair of RED!! vinyl boots with blades, not studs underfoot........... WHat about my rep?
Their last act of madness is to move me from my favoured fly half position to prop.....O yea of short sight fear not because you lack vision......
1200 - We erect our sponsors banners, warm up, mark out the pitch and await our oppo. Whilst waiting we are humbled by a group of fearless kidswho take part in an exhibition match. Most are barefoot and give no quarter in the wet muddy conditions. Skills abound and two of them would give our wingers a run for their money........................... though on second thoughts so would I.
Lagos Select XV v LNRFC XV
Match kicked off at a frantic pace. Lagos Select with passion to the fore, LNRFC meet fire with fire and due to technical superiority and eventually win the match, score 3 - 20.
Lagos Select XV v Northern Select
"In wet weather keep it tight" Both these teams ignored this addage and tried to ship and run at every opportunity. Good handling skills ensured that the match maintained a frentic tempo. The Lagos Select XV eventually won by the smallest of margins, much to the joy of the home based support.
Nigerian Police Lagos v Addax
Two young clubs met for the forst time and displayed this unrelenting passion, no holds barred commitment; which seems to be a common trait amongst local based sides. Addax eventually won the game, though the newly formed Police side were comptitive throughout.
News Flash................Shock!! News... Hisham El Marazki will play no further part due to a back injury....
I have been informed that I will be in the starting line up for the next match, wisdom has not won the day as they have decided to handicap our side by not playing me at fly half. This is an............. OUTrage, my immediate thought is too RUN........... the 10 foot perimeter wall is no obstacle, but what lies on the other side deters me............. the odd unfed Rotweiller or two!
Friday, 13 July 2007
Thursday, 12 July 2007
Wednesday, 11 July 2007
Monday, 9 July 2007
It’s over. We’ve had a great time, we given something back and we’ve learnt a thing or two about rugby. An excellent tour. Thanks to our sponsors who helped us get here, donate vital equipment, and make waves here in Nigeria (I, for one, been asked to have numerous pictures taken with people and even been asked for an autograph….I can’t wait for my wife to remind me how unimportant I really am).
Oh, and we’ve also learnt that some of us weren’t shouting our Nigerian chant quite right either…
Mark Ho Sports a traditional Nigerian outfit
Breaking news – Chi Chi steals Naija woman from
This picture just sent in by an offended reader. It appears as if Chi Chi commandeered a boat, went to an Island near
7 July 2007
On a clear but damp Saturday in July (the 7th to be exact) Lagos Polo Club locked all the horses in the stables, marked up a temporary rugby pitches and hosted a tournament for a different type of thoroughbred.
Three teams congregated to play a full afternoon's rugby, with the winner taking a newly created trophy for this special occasion. London Nigerian Rugby Football Club, coming to the end of a ten day tour of Lagos and Ilorin were the sole overseas side. Also included were a Lagos 'select' team (i.e. the best players from this chaotic but addictive city) and a 'select side from the northern states of Nigeria.
LNRFC played Lagos select first. This was a bruising and intense game. The home side set a fast and furious pace, whilst LNRFC played a tight relentless game. The visiting sides forwards dominated with size and technique coming out victors with a scoreline of 3 – 15.
The second match saw a closely contested battle between the two home sides. The level of running and handling skill, given the wet and 'boggy' conditions was exciting for the crowd and a pleasure to watch. The Northern select side were the eventual winners which set up a mouth watering finale with LNRFC. The game lived up to expectations with hard running, crunching tackles and a pace/intensity which again kept the crowds enthralled. Whilst LNRFC.gained the upper hand in terms of score the home side would not lie down; fighting all the way to the end they scored a try in the final minute of the game. The final score was 5 – 17 to LNRFC
Rugby is a tough sport, but rewarding to play and creates a bond and friendships which transcends the incidental. Everyone has 'won' something on this tour and we hope to make it an annual event!
The number of times Aliyu mentioned to guys who didn't go clubbing how he had "never seen so many fine babes in one club in my entire life" before promising not to mention it again.
Andy Franco, revealing his suite name at the Ambassadors hotel and (at the same time) his newly appointed Tour nickname since sporting a new (shocking) bleach blond hairstyle
"...Maybe it's me but the Gulder tastes better here than in the UK"
Stranger: "It's because that one was free, that's all"
Chima Ijeoma, trying one (of many) Naija beers on a night out.
Chima: I don't wear sunglasses after sunset
Maynard: I do - It stops a girl looking into the inner reaches of your soul - and helps you avoid eye contact with the 'bushmeat'. I'm sure the Bushmeat Index has gone up at least three points since we got here.
"I've got one thing to say. This court is a JOKE and I'm going to get ALL of you ¥#@!$ back!"
Chu Chu, perfectly demonstrating what not to say during a Tour Court session.
Femi Obe's tour nickname, after a night out being forced to wear wife-beaters and a tie as tour punishment.
Femi Obe's 'Tour Court' bills.
Jim Siu, explaining to inquisitive playas about the morning after the night before.
"Riff raff can you boys sit down so we can leave. 1A"
Text message sent by Nsa Junior Harrison from his newly acquired business class seat, '1A', on route to Lagos.
Mark (looking out of coach window): Sh*t
Mark: The way that car just cut in - they drive with no remorse here.
Os: That's just the way it is...
Andy: You drive with remorse - you don't get anywhere - simple.
On the journey from
Junior: what the &*#! was that?
Simi: Theres something alive under the seat
Junior: holy &*#!, something's moving under the seat!
Both are looking around frantically.
Hisham kicks can under seat again.
Junior: guys, theres something alive under the seat - &*#!, THERES SOMETHING MOVING UNDER THE SEAT.
Simi: &*#! man.
Junior: Hisham, is that you?
Richtie and Simi are hunting around for the invitational shirts to present to Dynamite RFC after the friendly match.
It appears Ugo had the shirts last. Ritchie and Simi are looking at Ugo accusingly. A moment passes before Ugo erupts.
"You two can @! off if you think I'm taking the blame for you two forgetti..."
Ritchie: We're not blaming you...
Classic Ugo (now smiling): my friend, I said 'IF'
"I heard you lost your phone. I'll help you find it...200 Naira"
Will King, being "shrewd".
"I can't help it, it's just vanity..."
Wole Olunfunwa, preparing to have a team photo taken, promptly discards the clean rugby jersey offered him in place of his precious (dirty) 13 jersey, for an even brighter whiter top, while his team-mates shuffle uneasily, stinking in their dirty kit, in the midday sun.
We met at 7am prompt to get an early start for the long drive to Ilorin…we left at 4pm. We drove through the night, through villages and mud tracks. Will King sang a medley of songs to keep us entertained, and, some hours later, found ourselves in the Kwara hotel. Our hosts we extremely welcoming and we immediately felt that our stay in Ilorin would be some welcome R&R following the fast pace of
Crucially, this was also the point in the trip where Fred, the IRB coach we had along with us, and Andy Franco were to do some impressive work at grass roots level. Here’s how.
Ilorin has a rugby club. It doesn’t really have any opposition, but it has a club. 1 mens team and, surprisingly, 2 women’s teams (We saw there, as indeed we saw in
When we arrived there was one official coach in Ilorin. When we left there were almost 50. The classes were hugely oversubscribed. We also raised funds to donate scrum machines, balls and pads to help them train. It’s very humbling to find such passion for rugby in a comparatively isolated area of
The passion extended onto the pitch too. LNRFC played the ‘Dynamite’ club and were met with a ferocious, but ill-disciplined opposition. Being relentless, fearless and having absolutely no sense of self-preservation seem to be the foundations of rugby in Ilorin. Dynamite club literally would launch themselves into rucks horizontally, feet off the ground. We won, but it’s very easy to see them being daunting opposition in 2+ years time, maybe sooner.
We donated a cup, and some Virgin Nigeria sponsored shirts (They wore T-Shirts when they played us) and left in the hope that this could be a regular event. With almost 50 new coaches in Ilorin - Kwara state, some fantastic new equipment, and they passion they already have, we all are very keen to come back and see what they have developed in the next year.
By Rob Relton
On Saturday 30 June six teams gathered at the British International school for an invitational 10 a side rugby tournament. Fortunately there was a break in the recent wet weather, so with clear skies, hospitality tents, bouncy castle, sound system (announcements and 'beats') the tournament got under way at 1.00pm.
The standard of rugby was high. The home teams (which included cowries, young lions,
The final saw
Sunday, 1 July 2007
Some of us have fallen foul of local disease, and this is a short who's who of those weak souls.
1. Jim, 2. Bankie, and 3. Ritchie all have stomach bugs due to over-indulgence on local produce.
4. Femi and 5. Chu-Chu both have chronic TB.
6. Will King has groin strain.
7. Following a knock on the head, Junior has amnesia and frequently forgets which team he plays for.
This left us with just 14 men to play the 10's tournament. Report to follow.
Monday, 18 June 2007
Presidential Blog Corner
This week we are proud to announce that Nigerian President elect Nsa ‘Junior’ Harrison has decided to give LNRFC blog writers unrestricted access to his stupendous country farmhouse here in the UK in the weeks before his inauguration. For the past 6 months Nsa has been running a long distance but stunning campaign to usurp President Olesugun Obasanjo and install himself as the new President of Nigeria. His headquarters is a 20 acre state-of-the-art pig farm in sunny Somerset. Nsa studied Pig keeping at Bristol University and will in fact be Nigeria 1st University educated president which adds to his overall appeal.
How did he win? LNRFC bloggers were more surprised than most. Nsa had a reputation at Bristol for replacing important tasks with, shall we say, less important ones. According to one anonymous former classmate, if given the choice of going to his Breed recognition finals exam or staying at home in bed, Nsa was bedbound every time. Even so he qualified with a double 1st (certificate available for inspection) and was offered a scholarship to Harvard which he turned down to fight and subsequently win the presidential elections (information from presidential lawyer Jemi Akin-Olugbadin).
The picture below of Nsa (in blue) published in the Nigerian press looking very much the 26 years stated in his passport. This photo showing him in simple attire very much tied in with Nsa’s claim that his presidential style would be “for the people by the people”.
The EU Observation Mission called the election a charade that did not meet international standards or the aspirations of Nigerians. A Ms Sawwyer added “Our monitors throughout the country... documented numerous lapses, irregularities and electoral malpractices that characterised the election in many states”.
The Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), with 50,000 Nigeria observers on the ground, called for the polls to be cancelled.
In a world exclusive 1st interview his Excellency-to-be answers his critics:
Nsa: It’s ridiculous. I was on my farm, how could I influence what was happening over there, and besides, that was around he time that a good friend asked me to come round for dinner.
Now you’ve been elected is it true that you plan to rule from Somerset…and why a pig farm?
Nsa: Well the thing is, I was going to go to Nigeria after I won, but I couldn’t get air conditioned pigsties in Abuja for my prized possessions – can you imagine that? Well that one of the first thing that’s going to change when I’m president.
Anyway Somerset reminds me of my village in Jos with the green fields, cattle and Glastonburyesque parties.. My father was a pig keeper and his father before him. The attraction?.. I find pig so much more honest than people especially certain countrymen of mine.
With the greatest respect your Excellency, you’re not really answering the question. How will you ensure that the electorate get a representative and fair democracy?
Nsa: Well I could do all that, and I will do all that, but now I have to go because my tea is ready and I’ve been waiting for my tea all day. Plus Jim has some shirts and I’ve got other stuff to do and I was going to do it then, but I went out before I could.
Thanks you Sa. Perhaps you’ll consider answering a few questions next week too?
Nsa: Of course I’ll be here and I can even answer more questions because I’ll have more time, because I won’t be in Oxford or Stains then, so I can answer loads more questions…huh, and yeah…but wait, because I think I might have tea again and that will mean I won’t have time.
Next week The Tough challenges for Nigeria’s 1st pig keeping leader.
Sunday, 17 June 2007
How did he win? LNRFC were more surprised than anyone. Nsa 'Junior' Harrison has a reputation for replacing important tasks with utterly frivolous ones. Not answering important emails because he had to ‘go out.’ For example.
The Tough Challenges Ahead
Bravely reported by Ugo Ekeowa.
Nsa Harrison replaces Olusegun Obansanjo when he is sworn in as
The ceremony was planned for last week but the president elect was cutting the grass on his 20 acre farm which he informs us “takes three whole days for the farm hands”.
Nsa replaces Obasanjo, who plucked him from relative obscurity as a quiet
Overcoming the issue of legitimacy is just one of the tasks facing Nsa.
Nsa’s manifesto had included his headline antipoverty plan which was to provide a pig for every home where the salary was above thirty US dollars/day after means testing. He had also promised to fast track visa applications to the EU and US which proved very popular as shown in pre elections polls.
The president elect is currently overseeing the addition of the ‘Presidential Wing’ to his already substantial farmhouse in the west of
For security reasons Nsa has moved his
Next week we discuss the New ministers and relive the splendor of the inauguration with more exclusive pictures. Any readers with particular issue that they want covered or questions they want the President to answer please write in.
Thursday, 14 June 2007
LNRFC Blog: Virgin
Somewhere around week 3.
Regular readers of this Blog will know that it didn't exist until this edition… For those who are new to this journal, we have some important updates on the progress of the tour. But first, a short recap: 30 intrepid members of London Nigerian's elite (ahem) have decided to flaunt their talent in the home territory,
Meeting Metrics demonstrate avid dedication to tour.
Now, something like this wouldn't be possible without regular meetings, something LNRFC are as good at being late to, as they are at making them laboured. Let's look at them in detail:
The meeting metrics (paid for by Virgin
These statistics have been collated by quiet observers with modern videography equipment linked up to a computer bureau in
Tour Kit 99%
Other Business 0.5%
Rants and Tirades 0.5%
Yes indeed. Whether we raise enough money to get to
One insider tells us that they were hoping for a massive uplift in the Rants and Tirades ratio, but Fola walked out mid – tirade and lost us massive rating points. LNRFC now go down one place in Meetings National Division 3. (Fola did score highly on accuracy and insightfulness, but this is only taken into account during the group stages).
Meeting 1 100%
Meeting 2 100%
Meeting 3 100%
(Accuracy +/- 95%)
Minutes rating N/A (Insufficient data)
Belligerent Bankie BBQs in Beating Rain
One of our most notable tourists has gone out of his way to make this tour happen. BBQ's in the rain are a rare endevour, but Francis "I'll BBQ anytime, anywhere" Irele, aka Bankie, defied the weather, God, and Physics when he was found BBQ'ing in the rain. More than that, he managed it whilst simultaneously making phone calls to BBQ punters coaxing them into coming and eating his rainy food. A noble cause indeed. To the surprise of his hungry punters, Bankie managed to retain the spice on the chicken despite the flood from the heavens, and all were satisfied. It wasn't the feeding of the five thousand, but at this stage – it all counts.
Next week – LNRFC gate crash a Nigerian Carnival, and we have the answer to the question you've all been waiting for – will we look good in the new tour baseball caps?
Late breaking News: This just (eagerly) sent in by Tunde Aiyegbusi
Ode to Virgin Nigeria by Tunde Aiyegbusi
Vigin, Virgin Nigeria
Your airline is really superior
I so love your planes
They drive me insane
If you were a woman I'd want to be with ya