AFRIQUE Coupe du Monde de Rugby féminin 2025 Madagascar.JPG
#Rugby #Sport #Africa #Madagascar #SouthAfrica
Denys Bédarride
7 May 2024 Last update on Tuesday, May 7, 2024 At 4:16 PM

South Africa and Madagascar have each made a strong start in their bid to win the Rugby Africa Women's Cup 2024 and qualify for WXV 2 as well as the 2025 Women's Rugby World Cup in England. Defending champions South Africa swept Cameroon 55-0, while tournament hosts Madagascar had to come from behind to beat Kenya 29-22.

The team that finishes top of the table at the end of the three match days will qualify for England 2025 and WXV 2 in South Africa. The runners-up will participate in WXV 3 in Dubai next September and October.

South Africa shows no quarter

Penalized by injuries to Aliyah Tchogna-Njamen and Samantha Els, the Springbok Women took time to settle down and failed to repeat the 87-0 victory they had obtained against Cameroon for the first time in last year’s women’s tournament.

Despite playing with the wind at their backs at Stade Makis, Louis Koen’s side were only able to score three tries from penetrating groupings – all scored by hooker Lindelwa Gwala – to lead 19-0 at the break.

But things improved after the break and they added six more tries to their tally, with left winger Maceala Samboya joining Gwala for a hat-trick.

Substitute forward Vainah Ubisi and second center Veroeshka Grain scored tries early in the second half as South Africa gained more pace, before Sambola scored three times in 10 minutes.

With eight minutes remaining, center Aphiwe Ngwevu celebrated her return to the squad for the first time this year by scoring a try after a quickly played penalty to make it 55-0.

Springbok Women have now won all seven Rugby Africa Cup matches they have played, having swept aside all others before them by winning the 2019 and 2023 titles.

AFRIQUE Coupe du Monde de Rugby féminin 2025 Afrique du Sud.JPG.jpg.JPG

The big performance of the Lady Makis

Meanwhile, Kenya’s hopes of qualifying for the 2025 Women’s Rugby World Cup and WXV are on hold after Madagascar erased last year’s defeat 29-20 at the same venue.

During this match, Madagascar received three yellow cards, but this time, it was Kenya who were the team penalized the most.

Tries from Terry Ayesa and Diana Awino put the Lionesses up 12-0, but the Lady Makis managed to come back to five points after the expulsion of number eight Naomi Jelagat. Winger Olivia Mamay Nirina Hanitriniaina scored as halftime approached.

Madagascar scored again within five minutes of the dismissal, after scrum-half Joela Mirasoa Fenohasina, thanks to her skill, managed to clear.

Kenya, which had regained its entire squad, took advantage of its physical commitment to regain the initiative. Prop Rose Otieno was able to score after a maul.

But Faith Livoi’s yellow card in the 56th minute opened up space for Madagascar, and the Lady Makis did not need a second invitation to capitalize on their chance, scoring two tries to take the lead for the first time in the match.

Valisoa center Erickah Razanakiniaina was the first to cross the line after a penalty quickly played by Fenohasina. This time, Tiana Jinah Razanamahefa was able to add the extras to bring the score to 17-17.

Laurence Rasoanandrasana’s try allowed Madagascar to lead 22-17. The hooker received the ball following a touch and rushed to the closed side without encountering the slightest resistance.

Kenyan substitute Helen Achieng temporarily silenced the crowd – which included the president and first lady – when she sneaked in from the left corner to level the score. But the fifth Malagasy try, scored in added time, was greeted by a roar from the public. A brilliant exchange between open side Delphine Sarindra Raharimalala and Hanitriniaina saw the winger score for the second time.

Madagascar gains a place in the ranking

If South Africa’s victory will not have an impact on the World Rugby women’s rankings due to the significant difference in points between the South Africans and Cameroon, Madagascar’s victory resulted in by gaining a place.

The Lady Makis obtained 1.1 additional points in their ranking, which allows them to overtake Belgium and reach 26th place. Kenya remains in 23rd.

The next opportunity for Malagasy fans to cheer on their team will be Wednesday, May 8, during the second day’s match against Cameroon. In the other match, South Africa will face Kenya.

Source: World Rugby

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