Sunday, July 8, 2012

TEST RUGBY IN AFRICA: World Cup Qualifying Africa. CAR Africa Cup 1B Day One

Madagascar 35, Morocco 28 in Antananarivo (WCQ Africa; CAR Division 1B)
Namibia 20, Senegal 18 in Antananarivo (WCQ Africa CAR Division 1B)

It was all fireworks and excitement on day in front of a huge crowd of 35,000 in the Madagascan capital Antananarivo. If you didn’t know it by now this stat. is confirmation that rugby is THE national sport in this island republic off the east coast of Africa.

The home side came from behind to overhaul their Moroccan opponents to win this crucial game. The winner plays in the final Sunday today against Namibia.

The scenes of jubilation following the victory were dampened by a stampede which injured some 20 adults and children, some of them seriously. With a bigger crowd expected today security, safety and organisation is going to have to be better to avoid a repeat panic.

Namibia had to also come from behind to win the game in the last five minutes. Senegal held an 18-12 lead at that time before Namibian flyhalf Botha scored a try and then a dropped goal in that last five minutes.

These results bode well for African rugby. The IRB site states that the growth of rugby in Africa has grown 33% in the last four years. Based on numbers now playing for official clubs in official competitions shows that this represents the fastest growth on the planet.

If Madagascar wins against Namibia on Sunday the national stadium in Antananarivo will be the most exciting place to be today if not the safest. I’d sure be there if I could!!

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