Lady Makis set up Rugby Africa Women’s Cup decider against South Africa

The Springbok Women lead the Women’s Cup 2024 standings by a point from hosts Madagascar after the two teams maintained their winning starts to the tournament in Antananarivo.

Hosts Madagascar and South Africa guaranteed WXV 2024 rugby on Wednesday as they set up a winner-takes-all encounter in this weekend’s Rugby Africa Women’s Cup 2024 final round.

Both teams made it two wins from two ahead of Sunday’s match as the Springbok Women beat Kenya 63-5 in Antananarivo before the Lady Makis edged Cameroon 12-5.

It means whoever emerges victorious from their meeting at Stade Makis in four days’ time will claim the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup title, Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025 qualification and their place in WXV 2 in South Africa.

The losing team will finish as runners-up and will travel to Dubai this September and October to compete in WXV 3.

South Africa played in WXV 2 on home soil in 2023 but it will a first appearance in WXV for Madagascar with Kenya having represented Africa in WXV 3 last year.

South Africa 63-5 Kenya

Springbok Women centre Jacomina Cilliers scored 23 points – including a hat-trick of tries – as South Africa maintained their 100 per cent record in the competition.

Cilliers’ centre partner Aphiwe Ngwevu set up the first try of the match, scored by flanker Lusanda Dumke in the fifth minute, but South Africa took time to find their rhythm.

It was not until the 17th minute that the Springbok Women breached the Kenyan defence for a second time, winger Sikholiwe Mdletshe marking her test debut with a try.

Cilliers crossed the whitewash twice, either side of Mdletshe’s second try, before Kenya prop Rose Otieno got the Lionesses on the scoreboard in the 36th minute with her second try of the tournament

There was still time in the half for Springbok Women second-row Vainah Ubisi to power over and touch down South Africa’s sixth try. Cilliers’ second conversion of the day made the score 34-5 at the break.

South Africa stretched their lead early in the second half as winger Nomawethu Mabenge crossed the whitewash before Cilliers completed her hat-trick.

Replacement hooker Lindelwa Gwala came off the bench to add two tries to the hat-trick she scored in Saturday’s win against Cameroon – both coming from driving mauls – before Mabenge rounded off the scoring with a try in the final play of the match.

Madagascar 12-5 Cameroon

Madagascar maintained their hopes of qualifying for a first Women’s Rugby World Cup with victory against Cameroon, but they were made to work hard for it in front of another big crowd in Antananarivo.

Cameroon dominated possession and territory for large parts of Wednesday’s second match, but their hosts stood firm and were clinical when opportunities presented themselves.

Having soaked up a period of pressure, the Lady Makis took the lead in the 19th minute with a stunning breakaway try.

Madagascar won a penalty in the shadow of their own posts and instead of kicking for territory, launched a counter-attack that ended with full-back Tiana Jinah Razanamahefa beating the covering defender and sprinting home from 60 metres.

Fly-half Vacilly Rahariravaka converted to give the Lady Makis a 7-0 lead following their first excursion into the Cameroon half.

Cameroon ate into that advantage before half-time as scrum-half Hononrine Fri Mbuh burrowed over from close range following multiple phases of pressure.

Priso Ndingo missed the conversion attempt, meaning the hosts turned around 7-5 in front.

The decisive moment came midway through a similarly competitive second half as Madagascar seized on two Cameroonian mistakes to score a second try.

First Ndingo failed to find touch with a penalty on halfway and that error was compounded as Suzy Mbeya failed to connect with an attempted clearance, allowing Lady Makis centre Veronique Rasoanekena to pounce on the loose ball and race into the left corner.

Cameroon kept the pressure on the home defence, but they were unable to find the score that could have earned them a famous result.

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Last updated: May 8, 2024, 4:01:31 PM
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