Kenya Lionesses overcome Madagascar

By eric odanga
Aug 10, 2019
  • Kenya Lionesses overcame a slow start to beat Madagascar 35-5 and face Uganda on Tuesday. (Photo Courtesy Rugby Afrique)

Kenya Lionesses overcame a slow start to beat a spirited Madagascar 35-5 in a 2021 Africa Zone Women’s Rugby World Cup qualifiers at the Bosman Stadium in Johannesburg on Friday.

It was Madagascar who were quick off the starting blocks with an early try by Voronigue Rasoankena. Philadelphia Olando, the Kenya Lionesses captain acknowledged this was an area of concern ahead of a derby with Uganda on Tuesday.

“We have to work on how we start our matches because we are not happy with how we played in the opening stages of the game. It is important to improve on that ahead of the next game,” she told Rugby Afrique after the match.

The shaky start stung Kenya Lionesses into action scoring three unreplied tries by Celestine Masinde, Olando and Janet Okelo for a 15-5 lead. Irene Otieno landed one conversion for a 17-5 lead at half time.

Olando further explained the opening 20 minutes forced Kenya Lionesses to be patient and soak pressure before cracks began to appear in their opponent’s ranks.

“It was difficult for us in the beginning because Madagascar came hard on us in the first 20 minutes,” the captain admitted. In the second half, Kenya forced Madagascar into numerous errors and appeared more composed and in control.

At one point, the referee flashed a yellow card to Otieno and a Madagascar player as at the height of the intensity. In the second half, Diana Awino and Christabel Lindo landed a try each with Janet Owino adding a penalty to stretch the lead 27-5.

Gem of a try

It was only in the last quarter that Kenya Lionesses finally settled and scored a gem of a try by Masinde after a good run at the wing.

Ravoavahy Lanto Nirina, the Madagascar coach was hopeful of a better performance against South Africa. “We had a good first half but did not take advantage of our dominance in the opening stages of the match,” he stated.

They have an uphill task against favorites South Africa who scored 15 tries against Uganda in a big 89-5 win over Uganda at the same venue.

Stanley Raubenheimer, South Africa coach was pleased with the performance and identified the running game as key into their next two matches against Madagascar on Tuesday and Kenya on Saturday.

In this match, Rights Mkhari and Eloise Webb scored three tries each while Zintle Mpupha Snenhlanhla Shozi and Sinazo Mcatshulwa scored two tries each.

Other try scorers were Babalwa Latsha, Ayanda Malinga, Yonela Ngxingolo. Tayla Kinsey kicked over six conversions and Shozi two. Uganda’s lone try was scored by Samiya Ayikoru.

South Africa’s big win took them to the top of the table after the opening matches. The winner of the tournament will qualify for the 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup to he held in New Zealand.

Results: Kenya 35 Madagascar 5, South Africa 89 Uganda 5.

Next Fixtures: Kenya v Uganda, South Africa v Madagascar (Tuesday); Uganda v Madagascar, South Africa v Kenya (Saturday).