Kenya v Uganda in Antananarivo (CAR Division 1A; Semi-Final)
Zimbabwe v Madagascar Antananarivo (CAR Division 1A; Semi-Final)
Venue: Stade de Mahamasina
This tournament was to be held in Antananarivo’s newest stadium but this tournament will be played at the venue of last years CAR Division 1B tournament. Capacity is about 30,000 which will be expected Saturday if not today.
The stage is set for the penultimate World Cup qualifying action in Africa. This tournament is not so much about the winner but about the loser. The losing team in Saturday’s playoff will be eliminated from the World Cup 2015. Their place in 2014 will be taken by Namibia who recently won Division 1B. The winner of this competition in 2014 will fill the second Africa place at the 2015 Finals.
As hosts Madagascar must be the favourite to win despite the fact that they were promoted from CAR Division 1C in 2013 following a dramatic 57-54 win over Namibia in extra time. The ‘Makis’ have such a huge crowd support and always play well above their level on home soil.
They will have tough competition from either Kenya or Uganda. Zimbabwe, last years 1A winner and holder of the CAR Africa Cup, will not have their strongest side because of a dispute between some of their top players and management.
Kenya v Uganda
Referee: Lesego Legoete (South Africa)
These two traditional and long time rivals have already played twice this year. Kenya retained the Elgon Cup when they defeated Uganda 19-13 in Nairobi in the second leg. They lost the first 16-17 so ended with the better aggregate. It was a close competition and I would expect it to be the same for this first semi-final.
GWC Rugby Rankings
Africa Table-Kenya 2nd, Uganda 3rd
IRB Ranking Points
Kenya 50.27, Uganda 48.77
Prediction: Kenya by 6 points
Asuman Mugerwa, Ronald Adigasi, Dennis Muriithi Mugambe, Martial Tchumkam, Solomon Mawanda, Paul Serunjogi
Romano Ogwal-Vice Captain, Dennis Mulo, Joel Anguyo, Scott Oluoch, Arthur Mukama, Marvin Odongo, Andrew Olweny
Robert Seguya, Davis Kiwalabye, Joseph Aredo, Brian Jjemba, Jonathan Bishop Onen, Felix Lubega, Timothy Mudoola
Oscar Kalyango, Michael Wokorach-Captain, Justin Kimono, Benon Kizza
Wilson Kopondo (Kenya Harlequin FC -Captain), Andrew Amonde (Kenya Commercial Bank RFC),Fabian Olando (Kenya Commercial Bank RFC),Joshua Chisanga (Homeboyz RFC), Kenny Andola (Strathmore RFC),Michael Okombe (Nakuru RFC), Isaac Adimo (Kenya Harlequin FC), Oscar Ayodi (Homeboyz RFC),Gibson Weru (Nakuru RFC),Edwin Achayo (Kenya Harlequin FC),Samuel Oliech (Impala RFC),Brian Nyikuli (Kenya Harlequin FC), Oliver Mangeni (Kenya Commercial Bank RFC),Samuel Warui (Nakuru RFC), Michael Agevi (Mwamba RFC), Curtis Lilako (Kenya Commercial Bank RFC),Ronnie Mwenesi (Nondescripts RFC), Vincent Mose (Impala, RFC),Nicodemus Barasa (Kenya Harlequin FC),Isaiah Nyariki ( Nakuru RFC),Dennis Karani (Kenya Harlequin FC), Joseph Kangethe (Australia University),James Kangethe (Australia University),Cyprian Kuto (Strathmore RFC)
Staff: Jerome Paarwater (Head Coach),Charles Ngovi (Assistant Coach),Richard Ochieng (Strength & Conditioning Coach),Christopher Makachia (Team Physiotherapist),Wangila Simiyu (Team Manager)
Zimbabwe v Madagascar
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa)
Although Madagascar is new to this level of competition they will have some distinct advantages over Zimbabwe.
Firstly they have the crowd. The game in Madagascar is played with so much passion and support the crowd is worth at least a ten-point start for the home side.
Secondly, the ‘Makis’ play the game at such a frenetic pace and passion that the opposition are often left in bewilderment as they concede another try from the deep.
Thirdly, Zimbabwe are in all sorts of strife over their team. A number of top players were left out of selection following a last-minute complaint and petition against team management. Zimbabwe’s squad numbers only twenty-two with only one back on the bench!
On paper it looks like an easy win for Madagascar.
GWC Rugby Rankings
Africa Table-Zimbabwe 4th, Madagascar 7th
IRB Ranking Points
Zimbabwe 52.57, Madagascar 48.19
Prediction: Madagascar by 15 points
Daniel Nhepera, Jakov Jakov, Peit Joubert, Tapiwa Mangezi, Sanele Sibanda, Keith Murray, Jan Ferrera, Martin Wolfenden, Simbarashe Bwanya, Jacques Leitao(capt), Andrew Rose, Biselele Tshamala, Njabulo Ndlovu, Mathew Mandioma, Boyd Rouse, Guy Cronje, Stephan Hunduza, Craig Elcombe, Shayne Makombe, Tafadzwa Chitokwindo, Garth Ziegler, Lenience Tambwera.
Head Coach: Brendan Dawson
Players not selected because of the dispute.
Tichaona Chidongo, Costa Dinha, Cleoapas Makotose, Tichafara Makwanya, Kuda Chiwanza, Gavin Nyawata, Tino Chikobvu, Tangai Nemadire, Gardner Nechironga, Zvikomborero Murangari, Jakov Jakov and Lungile Tsumba.
Julio Mahavy, Tolotra Ramaromiantso, Rodolphe Andriambololona, Bernard Razafindranaivo, Rija Rakotoarimanana, Tiana Ravelomanantsoa, Donald Rakotomialoha, Zo Rasoanaivo, Claudio Ravelonomenjanahary, Sidonie Rakotoarisoa, Bienvenue Mananjarasoa, José Rakoto Harison, Toussaint Rabearilala, Tahina Randrianarisoa, Jacquis Bayard, Christian Andrianjaka, Hasina Rakotoarivelo, Solobe Rabemananjara, Benja Rakotoarivelo, Coco Hary Nirina, Dolphe Randriamanantena, Poune Solomampionona, Hery Ralaimidona, Vonjinirina Andriamanjara.