Ghana Rugby Technical Director and Skills Coach Collin Osborne completed a successful week of training with the Ghana Rugby men’s and women’s national squads, the Ghana Eagles.
Osborne is known to have made a meaningful impact on the development of rugby in Africa when he coached the Zimbabwe national team, the Zimbabwe Sables. He was also the Skills Coach of Harlequins in the UK for a considerable time.
The Ghana Rugby Eagles are preparing for four important international Rugby Africa encounters that include the Rugby Africa Cup with matches against Zimbabwe on 20 June 2020 in Zimbabwe and against Tunisia on 4 July 2020 in Ghana.
The Eagles managed to get into the Pool stages of the new Rugby Africa Cup when they beat the Botswana Vultures in the “Battle of the Birds of Prey” on 23 November 2019 in Elmina-Ghana in an elimination match.
In October the Ghana Rugby women’s sevens squad will again compete in the Rugby Africa Women’s Sevens Tournament. In 2019 they managed to win the Challenge Trophy in their first-ever appearance.
The men’s sevens squad, who also won the Challenge Trophy in South Africa in 2019, will again compete against thirteen other nations for top honours in November 2020.
Osborne said, “The main reason I made this visit to Ghana at this time was to get the forwards familiar with the new scrum machine. It has made a significant difference to the way we can coach the scrum. The improvement in individual and the collective technique has been impressive in just five days. We also worked hard on our line outs and put structures in place to help us to ensure we can win first phase ball. Good progress has been made and I’m sure the hard work will continue while I’m away.”
Ghana’s Head Coach, also from Zimbabwe, Mr Lovemore ‘Dallas’ Kuzorera was equally impressed with what was achieved during the week of Osborne’s visit to Ghana.
“The training sessions have been progressive, I have been working more with the backline, and I can say there’s an understanding of our attacking shapes from the backs at any field position,”
He continued to say that they have been working on building confidence in partnerships and movements from set-pieces.
“It has been really beneficial to have coach Osborne around as it helps to be more tactical. We found time to work on the two departments, forwards and backs,” Kuzorera said.
The President and Board Chairman of Ghana Rugby, Mr Herbert Mensah, said that the use of technical expertise such as that of Collin Osborne and Strength and Conditioning Coach Stuart Aimer, also from the UK, is inevitable if the Ghana Rugby Eagles are to make any progress up the ladder of rankings in both Africa and in the World.
“While we are working hard to improve local knowledge and skills through training and education, we just do not have the necessary high-performance skills in Ghana at this stage. In a little more than a week from now, we are getting in a team of World Rugby Trainers to conduct various courses in Ghana that will form part of our skills improvement pathway,” Mensah said.
Mensah also said that the acknowledgement and support from the President of Ghana, President Nana Akufo-Addo, to Ghana Rugby will go a long way to prepare the Ghana Rugby Eagles to again fly Ghana’s flag high as they have been doing since 2017.
Ghana Rugby presented trophies to President Nana Akufo-Addo, including the trophies for winning the Rugby Africa West Africa Regional Challenge in Ghana in 2017 (men’s fifteens), winning the Rugby Africa Bronze Cup in Ghana in 2018 (men’s fifteens), winning the Rugby Africa Women’s Sevens Challenge Trophy in Tunisia in 2019 and winning the Rugby Africa Men’s Sevens Challenge Trophy in South Africa in 2019.
President Nana Akufo-Addo also acknowledged the huge investments made by the Mensah and his administration towards the development of rugby as a sport in Ghana and for flying the Ghana flag high. He also appropriated an amount of US$ 100,000 to Ghana Rugby to assist with preparations towards their 2020 international encounters.
“The training visit by Collin Osborne is an essential part of the preparations towards Ghana Rugby’s 2020 international encounters and we are grateful for his and others’ contributions towards the
development and success of Ghana Rugby,” Mensah said.
Mensah concluded by appealing to past sponsors and contributors to be inspired by the gesture from Ghana’s President to help to fill the enormous gap between required investments and the cost to do that.