Madagascar with chance for WC spot

After today's Africa Cup games, Madagascar and South Africa will meet at the weekend to decide who will represent Africa at the World Cup

Published by John Birch, May 8th, 2024

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Madagascar with chance for WC spot

South Africa 63 Kenya 5

South Africa were "solid rather than spectacular", and guilty of some over-eagerness at times as they gave away possession in Kenyan territory, and were also not as consistently dominant at set piece as they would have liked, yet were in total control of the game.

Jakkie Cilliers stole the show with a great performance at outside centre, scoring 23 points through a hat-trick of tries and four conversions in tricky conditions.

Despite playing with the wind in the first half, the Boks struggled go get going, making unforced errors in the Kenyan half and not getting the normal consistent ascendancy with their set piece.

Dumke scored the first try, after a strong run from Aphiwe Ngwevu (inside centre), in the fith minute, but it was the only highlight of the opening quarter of an hour for the South Africans.

They finally hit their stride in the 17th minute, when debutant wing Sikholiwe Mdletshe crashed over in the left corner for her first Test try, which came from a clever move from an attacking scrum.

Four minutes later Cilliers, whose goal kicking wasn't as sharp as normal due to the swirling wind, went over on the other side of the field to make it 15-0, with Ngwevu again prominent.

Mdletshe and Cilliers repeated these tries with their second five-pointers in the 28th and 32nd minutes and, at 27-0, the South Africans were firmly in control.

Kenya didn't roll over though and tested the Bok Women's defence, and in the 36th minute Rose Otieno (prop) broke through a tackle or two to score for the East Africans.

But Ubisi had the final say in the first half as she powered her way over for South Africa's sixth try, with Cilliers adding her second conversion to make it 34-5 at the break.

With the Boks introducing some fresh legs, Nomawethu Mabenge (right wing) wasted no time in the second half to grab her 14th try in her 18th Test before Cilliers made it a hat-trick to stretch South Africa's lead to 46-5 after 10 minutes in the second stanza.

Lindelwa Gwala (replacement hooker) then scored her fourth and fifth maul tries of the campaign as the Bok Women's pack took control of the clash, the first of which was converted by Cilliers from the sideline.

Mabenge had the last say when she scored her second try in the final minute of the Test to push the Bok Women past 60 points.


Springbok Women 63 (34) - Tries: Lusanda Dumke, Sikholiwe Mdletshe (2), Jakkie Cilliers (3), Vainah Ubisi, Nomawethu Mabenge (2), Lindelwa Gwala (2). Conversions: Cilliers (4).

Kenya 5 (5) - Try: Rose Otieno.

Madagascar 12 Cameroon 5

Cameroon constantly promised to spoil the party in the second game. After playing with such verve against Kenya, the home team were oddly subdued, giving up most of the possession and territory to the lower ranked west Africans, who frequently overturned the home team.

Cameroon looked like taking a shock early lead midway through the first half, but were held up over the like by some desperate Malagasy defence. Shortly after this, on 20', a breakaway put Madagascar on the board.

But Cameroon pulled a try back just before the break, Madagascar leading just 7-5 at halftime.

Despite having the wind behind them in the second half, Madagascar fared little better and again spent most of the 40 minutes defending. Nonetheless a rare foray down into the visitors end did give them a second try.

Nonetheless they had a further 20 minutes of defence, and the tense game kept the huge crowd relatively subdued until the final play, where Madagascar were able to seize the ball at take it dead.

Madagascar and South Africa now qualify for WXV and the winner of next weekend's fixture between them will go to the World Cup.