Category: Match Reports

Match Report: London Nigerian RFC 18 – 11 Harrow RFC

London Nigerian were desperate to turn their form around as they welcomed Harrow to Heston on Saturday.

The game started brilliantly for the home side, a lineout on halfway was gathered by the forwards and the maul rumbled up close to the opposition 22. As it went to ground the ball was spun to fly half Chris Morgan, he took the ball flat and at pace, breaking the blitz defence, drawing the fullback to put centre Nathan Alliston in under the post. Morgan then converted. 7-0.

A characteristic of LNRFC’s season has been the inability to maintain pressure for long periods. They immediately let Harrow gain territory with needless penalties and eventually the visitors were in a good enough position to narrow the lead to four. 7-3.

LNRFC responded well. They used their superiority in the line out and maul to make ground. Harrow were penalised and the penalty was converted by Morgan for 10-3. Unfortunately London Nigerian conceded multiple penalties to give away territories at the end of the half and Harrow narrowed the lead once more, 10-6.

The second half began and was scrappy to begin with. Both sides trying to maintain possession and territory. LNRFC began to have more of the ball and were using forward runners effectively to gain ground. Chris Morgan was heavily involved and eventually showed pace and a neat dummy to dive over. 15-6.

Nigerian were keen to gain an advantage however needless penalties after the restart saw Harrow retain possession. The scrum was struggling so the visitors piled on the pressure with their set piece. To make matters worse Alliston was then sin binned for not releasing. Harrow used their man advantage effectively with another scrum setting the foundation for their number 8 to crash over. 15-11.

Knowing that they needed to hold on to the ball whilst down to 14 men, LNRFC kept the ball in the forwards. Drives round the fringes of rucks and pods of runners were effective with Sean Baker and Jon Hardisty making particularly strong carries. Once Alliston returned Nigerian won a penalty in front of the Harrow posts for Morgan to slot over. 18-11.

Harrow were determined to gain at least a draw from the game and LNRFC had to defend doggedly in the final few minutes. They didn’t help themselves when the home scrum half, thinking the game was over, kicked the ball out 5 metres from his own line with minutes to play. Thankfully the defence was strong and the game ened 18-11.

Man of the match was Chris Morgan for controlling the game from fly half, finishing with 13 points and setting up the other try. London Nigerian finish 2016 on Saturday with a trip to Hammersmith & Fulham. Please come show your support.

Match Report: Tabard RFC 20 – 17 London Nigerian RFC

London Nigerian suffered a 2nd consecutive defeat in the league away at Tabard RFC.

London Nigerian travelled to Radlett for the game versus Tabard RFC. Both teams were in a similar position in the table before the game. LNRFC started the brighter, putting Tabard under pressure with measured phase play and strong runners in Moorby and Foley. However they could not capitalise and penalties let Tabard off the hook.

The first half was then one of defence for the visitors. Tabard had the majority of the ball and the Nigerians conceded numerous penalties to increase the pressure on their own line, which eventually led to Sean Baker heading to the bin. Tabard missed one attempt at the posts from these penalties when LNRFC were down to 14. Though LNRFC came back into the game as the half wore on it remained 0-0 at the break.

In the second half, London Nigerian improved their attack and scored very soon after the restart. Strong forward runs caused confusion in the Tabard defence. Multiple phases saw an eventual overlap created and Fraser James dived like a salmon to score the first try in the corner. Morgan superbly converted. 0-7.

Unfortunately, and in what was going to become a disappointing pattern, LNRFC allowed Tabard to reply with a try of their own. 7-7. LNRFC had control at both the scrum and the lineout, disrupting Tabard on their own ball on multiple occasions. It seemed as if London Nigerian were beginning to gain a grip on the game, Jack Flanagan and Sean Baker were making holes in the defence time and time again and created great field position for the backs to attack. A fine crossfield kick from Cox was gathered by Moorby and forced a high tackle. The penalty was kicked to touch and from the line out the initial maul made ground. Once disrupted the ball was fed back to Flanagan who sneaked in at the corner. 12-7.

Ill discipline meant that LNRFC could not increase their lead. Another sin bin immediately followed the restart and Tabard kicked the penalty to narrow the lead to two. The game was incredibly topsy turvy. London Nigerian were continuing to make breaks with Sean Baker a real threat. One impressive break created a fine platform which led to Caolan Cotter crossing the line to score. 17-10. LNRFC were dominant for the next 10 mounting serious pressure on Tabard, however could not come away with points after a penalty attempt was missed. It was from here the match unraveled. Tabard took advantage of Nigerian handling errors to regain possession and poor tackling saw them score under the posts. 17-17. With seconds remaining, LNRFC ill discipline proved to be costly as they were penalised at a breakdown. Tabard converted the penalty to win 20-17.

A disappointing defeat in a game that seemed there to be won. Positives can be taken from the performance in the scrum as well as individual performances from Flanagan and Baker. LNRFC are away on 26th November to Harpenden.

Match Report: London Nigerian 25 – 47 H.A.C. RFC

London Nigerian suffered a sobering loss at home against H.A.C.

After a morale boosting victory against Welwyn, LNRFC welcomed old rivals H.A.C. to Heston. Unfortunately the game did not start well as the visitors found space wide to score the first try. They then followed that up with a penalty.

When Nigerian had the ball they completed their phases well. The Playas first try came as first Moorby broke the line to get in behind H.A.C., the ball was then recycled as backs and forwards both made yards. Eventually Freddie Chalked took the ball on the loop around to score in the corner. 8-5. Mistakes meant that Nigerian could not turn the game around as H.A.C. scored two quick tries. 18-5.

In the final 15 mins of the half the London Nigerian forwards began to over power the visitors’ pack. The rolling maul was gaining huge ground and led to a sin bin for a H.A.C. 2nd row. From the penalty the decision was made to kick. The effort hit the post to be gathered by Jack Flanagan, 5 yards out and he could not be stopped from crashing over. 18-10. LNRFC completed the half on top and finished by scoring a penalty after H.A.C. were reduced to 13 men. HT score 18-13.

The halftime discussion was about maintaining the intensity from the end of the first half. However the half started poorly as the 13 men of H.A.C. moved the ball quickly to find territory from which they won and scored a penalty, 21-13. When they returned to a full 15 the visitors began to threaten, their outside backs making the most of poor defensive organisation from LNRFC. They scored two successive tries to compound the home sides poor start to the half. 35-13. LNRFC did rally as they used the wind to kick deep from a penalty. The lineout was won cleanly and Joe Mac continued his scoring form to touch down from the back of the rolling maul. 35-20.

The defensive cohesion just wasn’t there for London Nigerian, tackles were missed and H.A.C. scored two more tries, converting one. A small positive for the Playas came when a scrum in the opposition 22 was rumbled blind by Sean Baker who fed Olly Cox. Cox showed his skills to offload out of the back of his hand to Zac Boffey, who scored in the corner for the bonus point try and a small consulation. Final Score 47-25

A disappointing result for London Nigerian and showed the work that needs to be done. There is no game this coming weekend, LNRFC next play away at Tabard on November 19th.




Match Report: Welwyn RFC 12 – 24 London Nigerian RFC

London Nigerian returned from a long away trip with a bonus point win

LNRFC travelled to Welwyn to put last week’s disappointing loss behind them. The message all week had been about raising the level of intensity and keeping play simple. It was clear this had been taken on board from as early as the warm up. When the game kicked off the Playas were committed in defence and attacked as a team. The first try came when a penalty was kicked to touch, the lineout was won and the rolling maul saw Joe Macdonald score.

LNRFC were playing their best rugby for some time, maintaining possession with phases from forwards and backs and the second try was the perfect example of this. The forwards gained ground by running hard with support and eventually the ball was spun wide for fullback Chris Morgan to join the line and find space to score. The wide pitch gave the Playas’ backs the opportunity to exploit holes in the midfied and Adam Foley capitalised, breaking the line and then leaving the opposition full back grasping at air with a wonderful side step. Morgan converted- 0-17.

It had been a fast and ferocious start to the match both in attack and defence and perhaps this was why in the second 20 minutes LNRFC’s intensity dropped. Welwyn gained confidence as London Nigerian’s tackling became more passive and they gave away a multitude of penalties. Their first try was a direct result of consecutive penalties as one of their large ball carriers crashed over and it was then converted. LNRFC couldn’t seem to lift their game and missed tackles saw a second try for Welwyn as they scored out wide. Half time score of 12-17.

Coach Joe Mbu had some strong words on accountability for the team at half time. They appeared to have an effect, especially in the forwards as the LNRFC scrum began to take control. The bonus point try for the Playas came from a Welwyn error. After multiple attempts at the line  earlier in the half LNRFC decided to kick a penalty. Morgan’s effort was unsuccesful however Welwyn’s player stepped over the try line before grounding to leave London Nigerian with a 5 metre scrum. Number 8 Sean Baker broke from the scrum offloaded to Freddie Chalke whose fine pass allowed winger Joe Harris to score in the corner, converted by Morgan, 12-24.

The closing moments of the game were disrupted by a serious looking injury to a Welwyn player. The game was moved to an adjacent pitch for the final 5 minutes. The game restarted with LNRFC on their own 5 metre line. Valiant defence saw the home side driven back again and again and the game finished 12-24.

A satisfying victory for the Playas after a tough start to the season. Man of the match was scrum half Freddie Chalke foor a brilliant all round performance in both defence and attack.

Next week London Nigerian are at home against H.A.C. It’s a fixture that has produced a number of exciting games over the years so please come to Heston to show your support.



Match Report: Old Haberdashers 31 – 7 London Nigerian

On Saturday London Nigerian travelled to Borehamwood to play Old Haberdashers for the 5th game of the season.

London Nigerian arrived at the Old Haberdashers grounds full of confidence and excited about playing on the wide and well tended pitch before them. However, it was an inauspicious start to the day when during pre-match lineout practice prop Nathan Tomlinson suffered a gash to the lip that required medical attention and ruled him out of the contest. Despite this injury, which brought front row replacement Ed Vaughan into the starting lineup, a smooth and error-free warm up left the players eager for the match to kick off.

It was clear from the very first play that this was going to be a tough fought match as strong Habs runners repeatedly sought to break through gaps in the Nigerian defence. Although training in recent weeks had focussed on defensive organisation, it wasn’t long before London Nigerian found themselves spread too thin across the wide pitch. This allowed the Old Haberdashers No.8 to breakthrough a gap in the midfield resulting in an early try for the home side.

The strength and pace of some of the Habs players, particularly at 8, 12 and 13, would regularly seek to exploit these gaps throughout the match. It took too long for the Nigerian players to adjust to this tactic and through this method resulting in a further two tries to Old Haberdashers in the first half.

Throughout the first half London Nigerian were able to string together multiple phases, penetrating into the opposition 22. This was helped by the capable kicking of Olly Cox who repeatedly punished Habs penalties by pushing them back to their own 5m line. However, skilled lineout opposition and all-round defence meant that London Nigerian were never able to come away from any of these sorties with points. By halftime the score was 19-0 in the home sides favour; but the discussion at half time was positive with Nigerians confident they could gain a foothold in the game if they could be more clinical in the red zone.

The second half started much the same as the first with strong runners and consistent phase play drawing out the best of both sides defences. This led to long periods in the second half grinding in to a stalemate. The physicality of the game soon showed with winger Joe Harris having to leave the field with a gash to the head. Unfortunately, due to injuries in the wider squad, this meant flanker Caolan Cotter had to move into the backs as replacement forward Will Jackson came off the bench. This reorganisation highlighted the strength and versatility of the Nigerians players as the team began once again to knock on the opposition try line. Despite a tenacious defence from Habs, repeated attacks soon left enough of a gap for Adam Foley to wriggle his way out of a tackle and over the whitewash.

Unfortunately, London Nigerian weren’t able to build on this momentum, and many subsequent attacks were snuffed out by a well organised home defence. Towards the end of the match as players on both sides began to tire, Habs were able to capitalise on further gaps to score two further tries including a well worked improvised try 5 minutes from the whistle. With the final play of the game it looked like Habs would be able to put one last try past London Nigerians but for a last ditch tackle causing a knock-on and finishing the game.

The game finished 31-7 to Old Haberdashers although the score line did not reflect how close and hard fought the contest was for long periods of the match. Next week sees a break from the league as London Nigerian travel to Crowborough to start their cup run of the 2016-17 season.

Match Report: London Nigerian 25 – 31 Hammersmith & Fulham

London Nigerian suffered defeat in their first home game of the 2016/17 season.

LNRFC welcomed Hammersmith & Fulham to Heston on Saturday. Unfortunately the welcome extended to the pitch as the home side started slowly. An early H&F penalty was kicked for touch in the LNRFC 22 and the quick ball off the top saw Hammersmith’s winger touch down in the opposite corner.

The Playas responded and earned a penalty inside the H&F half which was kicked for 3 points. It didn’t see the overall momentum change however as the away side were more aggressive in the loose and capitalised to score again in the corner. 3-12. The scores worsened with another try for the visitors. 3-17.

It was clear that when LNRFC played well and held on to the ball they were effective. Continued phases  gained territory and eventually saw scrum half James ‘Penfold’ Martin spot a gap to cross the line and make the score 8-17. The half didn’t finish well though as a third H&F try made the score 8-24.

Some stern words were said at half time and the Playas responded to them. In the second half Hammersmith barely left their half as LNRFC used the ball much more effectively. The wind helped and a penalty found touch deep inside the opposition 22. The lineout was taken well and despite prop Joe Macdonald initially grounding the ball on the wrong line he managed to crawl the final few metres to score – 13-24. The pressure from London Nigerian continued and Sean Baker, on his first appearance of the season, showed his strength and crashed over from the rear of a scrum. The try was converted to bring the scores to within 4 points, 20-24.

It seemed only a matter of time before the home team took the lead, however errors and a rising penalty count let H&F back into the game. With the clock ticking down on the second half they used a rare spell of possession to create space for their winger to score their fourth try of the game, 20-31. LNRFC were still confident of getting something from the game and with a few minutes remaining great hands on the blindside saw captain Charlie Esberger run in for the home side’s fourth, 25-31. Unfortunately that was the final score. LNRFC gained 2 bonus points from the result but now that the start they made to the game meant they left themselves with too much to do.

Next week sees the Playas face familiar opposition, Belsize Park, in Regents’ Park. This is a great opportunity for as many supporters, young and old, to show their support for the team. Check out our Supporter’s Day event here.

Match Report: Stockwood Park RFC 10-17 London Nigerian RFC

LNRFC overcome conditions and a spirited home side to record their first win of the season in London NW 2.

London Nigerian journeyed to Stockwood Park by coach accompanied by supporters for their opening game of the season. After a pre-season of baking hot training sessions the conditions on game day were in stark contrast; wet, grey and windy.

Both sides couldn’t keep handling errors out of their game and in the initial moments the Playas had to defend stoutly as Stockwood saw the majority of the ball. After 20 minutes good defensive line speed from LNRFC saw the home side spill the ball just inside their half and Freddie Chalke gathered the ball and beat the covering full back for pace to score.

Stockwood created chances of their own and had most of the territory in the first half, they missed an opportunity to reduce the lead to 2 points after a penalty was missed. This proved costly as LNRFC kicked a penalty into the corner and the driving maul was used to great effect, Jack Flanagan touching down for a 10-0 lead at half time.

After the break Stockwood gained momentum as their scrum took control. Nigerian conceded multiple penalties and this gave the home side the chance to move further down field and eventually after numerous attempts to cross the whitewash they shipped the ball wide for their winger to touch down. 10-5.

When the Playas used the ball well and kept their play tight it was successful and another rare foray into opposition territory saw a penalty won and kicked to the corner. The maul worked well again and this time hooker Joe Macdonald flopped over the line. A cracking conversion meant the score was looking more comfortable at 17-5.

The final 20 minutes of the game were the worse in terms of errors for LNRFC, they couldn’t keep the ball long enough to see out the match. The last try came from Stockwood as they turned the ball over in Nigerian’s 22 and a grubber through was dotted down. 17-10.

Man of the match for LNRFC, chosen by Stockwood Park, was Jon Hardisty. Next week LNRFC are at home vs Hammersmith and Fulham, please come show your support.

Match Report: London Nigerian 25 – 19 Belsize Park

On Saturday 23rd April London Nigerian found themselves in the same position they were a year ago; already promoted, but facing a final match knowing that only a win could result in them becoming champions. Freshly promoted, it was a huge achievement for the team to have come this far but no player was interested in taking their foot off the gas quite yet.

The match started with the organised defence and skilled boot (aided by a tailwind) of Belsize Park keeping London Nigerian pinned back in their own half. It was this territory that allowed Belsize Park to quickly turn three penalties into a nine point advantage only 10 minutes into the game.

Recovering from conceding these points Nigerian were able to string together a series of sustained phases that hammered hard on the Belsize defence edging them back into in to their own half. Here aggression at the breakdown forced Belsize to concede a penalty and allowed James Cox to return the favour and bring the scores to 3-12.

The remainder of the first half passed much the same with neither side able to convert their territory or possession into a try. Shortly before the break Belsize were able to put a further three points on the board from another penalty and lead the score 3-12 at the half.

Despite being nine points behind, London Nigerian entered the second half brimming with confidence knowing that the switch of ends had moved the wind in their favour. Almost immediately London Nigerian had won a penalty in the middle of the park and kicked themselves into a commanding position within the opposition 22. Although a rare miss-throw from hooker Joe Mac initially looked like a lost opportunity, the ball was collected by Caolan Cotter whose pace and strength saw him cross the line under only his own steam. The reliable boot of James Cox adding the extra points brought the scores to 10-12 and London Nigerian right back into the game.

The sustaining pressure of Nigerian attack and phase play in the opposition half continued to stretch the Belsize defence throughout the second half and a few silky pairs of hands gave Fraser James the ball and just enough space to dart down the left wing and leap salmon-like over the line to score and take London Nigerian into the lead. Although the conversion was missed it wasn’t long before a penalty deep in Belsize territory brought the scores to 18-12.

However, Belsize Park were not at the top of the league for nothing and soon the momentum of play began to shift back their way. A strong rolling maul drove deep into Nigerian territory and with the defence dragged in field to protect against this attack, Belsize saw the space out wide and distributed the ball to an overlap going over the whitewash in the corner. A successful conversion ensured the advantage moved to Belsize and they nosed ahead 18-19 with 15 minutes left on the clock.

The game was physical throughout and soon both Captain Charlie Esberger (suspected concussion) and Full Back Jack Newton (broken elbow) had to retire from the game. These substitutions failed to dull the Nigerian attack and with only five minutes left on the clock a series of offloads gave Sam Moorby just one man to beat, which he did with a stylish dummy. His try, followed by James Cox’s successful conversion brought the score to 25-19 where it remained for the rest of the match.

The final whistle secured London Nigerian as proud champions of London 3 North West and alongside Belsize Park they will be heading to London 2 North West next season. The club would like to thank all of the players and supporters who have made 2015-16 a memorable season and we look forward to seeing you next year.

Final Whistle

Match Report: London Nigerian 2nd XV 32 – 30 Staines Cobs XV

A brilliant day for London Nigerian in general and a fitting match to remember Carl Christian, a former Playa.

The LNRFC squad for this game was made up of 32 different players with former team mates of Carl lining up alongside current 1st team members and friends of the club.

it was clear Staines had not travelled to Heston for a jolly friendly as within minutes of the start of the game they took the decision to kick the first penalty for 3 points. Initially LNRFC were a little disjointed as unfamiliar faces were playing together for the first time. Staines took advantage and managed to score a couple of tries.

Changes were being made at regular intervals but despite this LNRFC grew into the game and a quick decision to tap a penalty saw Luke Wheeler score the home sides first try in the corner. Staines responded with a try of their own before Wheeler got his second in almost identical fashion to make the score 10-20.

In the second half the Playas, influenced by the presence of Nsa ‘Junior’ Harrison in the forwards, took hold of the game. Staines’ poor blindside flanker valiantly tried to hang onto Junior from the back of the scrum but he soon found the try line and a fine score from Luke Davids in the far corner saw the scores leveled at 20-20.

Junior helped himself to two further tries, one converted, before Staines scored their final try of the game which was converted. Then in the final moments with the score at 32-27 and Staines 5 metres from the Playas try line their centre got his maths wrong and kicked a drop goal which saw the game finish at 32-30

It was an entertaining game ahead of a massive fixture for the 1st XV and it was great to have so many old boys along to watch and take part. Thank you to Edson Aiworo, Paul Desmonde, Bankie Irele, Bayo Ogunbufunmi, Nsa Harrison, Cima, Ijeoma, Anthony, Obiekwe, Osondu Anodu, Chris Grahame, Babs Kehinde, Amos Nmaju, Luke Davids, Ugo Ekeowa and Ik Iroche for bringing along your boots and to Remi Williams for captaining and organising the side.


Match Report: Hemel Hempstead 15 – 15 London Nigerian

London Nigerian leave Hertfordshire with a disappointing draw in their penultimate game of the season

LNRFC made their final away trip to Hemel Hempstead for their penultimate game of the season. With the weather brightening and the wind lessening it looked a good day for rugby and after another promotion season perhaps this contributed to the sense of complacency within the Playas.

They started the game well with the ball in hand however in defence there was a distinct lack of intensity. With Hemel Hempstead possessing a large pack, passive defence allowed them to grow into the game. After absorbing LNRFC pressure their fly half broke straight through the Nigerian back line too easily, after making 30 metres he was well supported and eventually the ball made it back into his hands for the first try of the game. Converted for 7-0. This gave the home side and their partisan support a huge boost and they earned a penalty shortly afterwards. 10-0. When LNRFC had the ball and played through the phases they looked dangerous unfortunately on more than one occasion when the final pass was needed the move would break down. Their situation was made more difficult by a yellow card for skipper Esberger after the ref had warned for repeated infringement. Down to 14 men and LNRFC conceded a second try as Hemel used a penalty advantage in the 22 to try a crossfield kick which saw their winger touch down. 15-0. LNRFC knew that they just needed to use the ball better and after playing their way back up the field Cox slotted a penalty with the last kick of the half for a 15-3 half time score.

The message at half time was to not panic and use phase play to control the ball with the slope in the Playas favour. They started the second half brilliantly and despite still being down to 14 they managed to secure a line out in the corner. The resulting driving maul saw Tom Murray score an unconverted try , 15-8. Esberger was soon back on the field and the home crowd welcomed his return loudly. It wasn’t long before LNRFC leveled the scores. A rush defence in the centres saw Mike Floyd force a fumble from the home fly half, Floyd hacked the ball on and the bounce was good for him to gather and race in from 40 metres out. Cox converted and it was 15-15.

Hemel grew into the game after that try and made use of their scrum dominance to gain territory. Fortunately for Nigerian they could not breach the final line of defence. The referee was busy as there were multiple penalties from both sides however despite warning the home team on numerous occasions he seemed reluctant to send any player to the bin. Nigerians thought they had found the winning try as fullback Adam Foley joined the line to create an overlap for Freddie Chalke to run in but the final pass was forward.

LNRFC did well to come back from 15-0 down and there were outstanding performances from Jon Hardisty and Tom Murray in the back row however this was still a disappointing result.

London Nigerian now face Belsize Park at Heston on Saturday to decide who will win the London 3 North West. This is a massive day for the club so please make the effort to come and support the Playas. There are plans for an end of season party and all event details can be found here