Rugby Africa Women’s Cup: South Africa qualify for Rugby World Cup as Kenya finish third


South Africa’s Springbok Women emerged triumphant once again in the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup, defending their title with a hard-fought 46-17 victory over Madagascar at Stade Makis in Antananarivo on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Kenya secured third place after a hard-fought battle against Cameroon.

The win not only secured their African championship status for South Africa but also ensured a coveted spot in next year’s Rugby World Cup in England and the upcoming WXV 2 tournament on home soil.

The Springbok Women faced stiff opposition from the home team, Madagascar, who showcased exceptional defensive prowess and attacking flair throughout the match.

Sikholiwe Mdletshe (right) sprints to score a try against Madagascar. PHOTO: SA Rugby

Despite Madagascar’s spirited performance, the South Africans managed to dominate with a final scoreline of 46-17, highlighting their superior skill and experience.

The match started intensely, with South Africa’s Veroeshka Grain opening the scoring early on in the 9th minute.

The Springbok Women’s backline proved dangerous, exploiting turnovers and showcasing precise attacking maneuvers.

Lusanda Dumke and Sne Mdletshe added to the tally with quick tries, putting the Bok Women in a commanding position at 22-0. However, Madagascar fought back valiantly, with Nomenjanahary Aina Rakotozafy scoring from sustained pressure.

Madagascar’s determination continued to challenge the Springbok Women, especially after South Africa’s Tayla Kinsey was sin-binned. Yet, just before halftime, Jakkie Cilliers extended South Africa’s lead with a crucial try, heading into the break with a 27-5 advantage.

The second half saw Dumke securing a brace early on, further bolstering South Africa’s lead. Despite fresh legs from the South African bench, Madagascar persisted, showcasing their resilience with a late try from Marie Sophie Razafiarisoa.

However, it was not enough to overcome South Africa’s dominance, as the Bok Women sealed their victory with tries from Cilliers and Asithandile Ntoyanto.

The win not only crowned South Africa as the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup champions but also secured their spot in next year’s Rugby World Cup in England and the upcoming WXV 2 tournament hosted in South Africa.

Kenya Lionesses line up after receiving their bronze medals. PHOTO: Rugby Afrique, X

In the tournament’s earlier match, Kenya’s Lionesses claimed third place after a tense encounter with Cameroon.

Despite a strong start from Kenya, Cameroon displayed marked improvement, posing a threat to Kenya’s lead. The Lionesses ultimately secured a 39-17 victory, showcasing their ability to capitalize on opportunities and maintain composure under pressure.

Kenya’s performance was characterized by a blend of attacking flair and defensive solidity, with players like Rose Otiena and Diana Aino making significant contributions. However, Cameroon’s determined efforts, particularly in the second half, kept the Lionesses on their toes.

Cameroon’s Coach, Paul Murunga, emphasized the need for continued improvement to match the evolving landscape of international rugby. Despite the loss, Cameroon displayed promising signs for the future, with potential for growth evident in their performance.

South Africa celebrate after wining the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup. PHOTO: Rugby Afrique,X

As the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup concluded, South Africa celebrated their triumph, setting their sights on future challenges at the global stage.

Kenya, on the other hand, reflected on their journey, aiming to elevate their game and remain competitive on the international circuit.

The tournament showcased the growing strength of women’s rugby across Africa, with teams demonstrating resilience, skill, and determination.

As attention now turns to the upcoming Rugby World Cup and WXV 2 tournament, South Africa’s Springbok Women emerge as formidable contenders, while Kenya’s Lionesses look to build upon their achievements and continue their upward trajectory in the sport.

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