All About NRLA

NRLA Overview

The Nigerian Rugby League Association (NRLA) emerged as a beacon of private sector support for rugby in Nigeria, aligning with the Youth Rugby initiative under iTry. Led by Mr. Adebisi and a dedicated team, the NRLA achieved a significant milestone in 2019 with approval from the Nigerian Olympic Committee and affiliate membership status with the International Rugby League (IRL).

 With this recognition, the NRLA embarked on a journey to establish a first-class rugby league infrastructure in Nigeria. In its inaugural year, the NRLA showcased its competitive prowess by successfully bidding to host the Middle East and Africa Rugby League World Cup Pre-Qualifiers. The Green Hawks of Nigeria, the national team, clinched victory in the tournament, propelling Nigeria to the top spot in Africa and 28th globally in the rugby league rankings.

In 2019, the NRLA initiated the development of a National League, National Team, and school competitions. The successful launch of the Schools League in Kano, with 40 schools participating, underscored the NRLA’s commitment to nurturing rugby talent at the grassroots level.

Since kicking off in Lagos in 2020, the Schools League has grown exponentially, with over 20 schools now participating in NRLA tournaments. Over the past two years, these tournaments have seen over 15 schools in Lagos competing, showcasing the NRLA’s dedication to expanding rugby league participation and development across the nation.

The integration of schools with local clubs in Lagos further strengthens the NRLA’s vision for rugby league development nationwide.

What We Do at the Nigeria Rugby League Association (NRLA)

Now the task at hand, in 2019, was to develop a National League, National Team and a competition for schools. This was achieved 100%, however the Schools league concentrated initially on Kano alone and was extremely successful with 40 schools competing. Plans to improve upon the 2019 success are already underway, with our application for Observer membership being completed and set to be submitted for approval any day now.

A year we made history by winning. Making it more impressive was the fact that no financial support was offered and
all was achieved through donations from Trustees, Board and family members. 2020 will see an expansion of the schools league into Lagos with several schools already showing interest in joining. NRLA will fully support the schools that subscribe. The intention in Lagos is that
the schools would be adopted by the clubs in Lagos. Each club would be expected to take 2-3 schools
under their umbrella. The clubs are expected to run independently under the guidance and terms and conditions as set by the NRLF.

Building a Thriving League

Affiliate Membership with the IRL: As of February 2024, we are proud to be affiliate members of the International Rugby League (IRL), actively pursuing full membership.

Expanding the National League: We are constantly working to increase club participation, aiming for annual national tournaments featuring diverse teams across the country.

Developing Future Stars: Our commitment extends to fostering youth talent through junior leagues, women’s rugby initiatives, and regional age-group competitions.

Hosting Major Events: Our vision includes hosting annual national tournaments for men, women, and youth, solidifying the sport’s presence within the nation

Rugby, Beyond the Game

We believe in the transformative power of sport. To us, rugby league is more than just a game; it’s:

A Unifying Force: We partner with communities, sponsors, and government agencies to bring people together through rugby league.

A Community Builder: Our programs like “Improved accessibility to public spaces for the physically challenged” and “The Sports Escape” encourage participation and promote healthy lifestyles.

A Life Changer: We offer opportunities for individuals to develop, grow, and excel through their passion for the sport.

Reaching for the Global Stage

International Partnerships: We actively seek collaborations with international clubs to raise the standard of Nigerian rugby league. Existing and upcoming clubs will benefit from expert guidance and support.

Player Pathways: We facilitate contracts for talented players to pursue professional careers in academies, feeder clubs, and top amateur leagues in the UK and Australia.

Employment Opportunities: We partner with international clubs to secure sponsorships and employment for our players, offering financial stability and rewarding their achievements.

Future Stars on the Global Stage: Our unwavering belief is that these opportunities will propel Nigerian players to the highest levels of international rugby league within the next few years.

Join us on this exciting journey as we empower athletes, inspire communities, and elevate Nigerian rugby league to the global stage!