Morocco win the first Tri Nations of Maghreb – With two wins in two matches, Morocco won the first edition of the Tri Nations of Maghreb which is taking place over three days at the stadium Ahmed Zabana of Oran with the support of Rugby Africa.
At the end of the first two matches (out of three) of the first Tri Nations of Maghreb tournament, the national team of Morocco was crowned champion after their second victory.
On Wednesday, December 21st, the Lions of the Atlas narrowly beat Tunisia 14 points to 12 at the Ahmed Zabana stadium of Oran. The Moroccans, coached by Laurent Sousbie – who also doubles as coach of the national 7s rugby team – managed to take the lead in the second period while they were led 9-5 at the break.
“It is always good not to have to wait for the following match to know the final result”, said Laurent Sousbie at the end of the encounter. “This win is very good, it is a nice addition on the players’ win list especially as the organization of this tournament represented a lot of work.”
After they left the group C last summer to reach the group B (in July, 2017 they will have to compete against Ivory Coast, Madagascar and Botswana), Morocco continues its beautiful adventure always keeping in sight a possible qualification for the Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan.
“For us, this Tri Nations adds a competition and, in terms of preparation for the national team, it is always very good”, continues the coach. “Obviously, it is better to build a team by winning, in spite of the pressure. This time we started with a new group. Between both matches of this tournament, our game evolved and that’s definitely the beautiful part in rugby.”
Five days earlier, on Saturday, December 17th, Morocco had indeed already dominated Algeria, the hosting team, 12 – 11. In the first day of the championship, the Algerians narrowly missed a first victory in the new competition, despite a last-minute try by Danil Youcef – the only one of the match ! – but the conversion was unsuccessful and the match was lost for the Algerians.
A single point that made the difference and left the hosting team with a bitter taste. “There was a lot of pressure and we did not follow the instructions. We paid it a very high price”, had then declared the coach of the Algerian team, Salim Tebbani.
The third and last match of the tournament was on Saturday, December 24th between Algeria and Tunisia. The Tunisians won it at the last minute, on a try converted : Algeria 15 – 16 Tunisia.
AN HISTORIC MEETING
Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria participate in the first “Tri Nations” in Maghreb scheduled at the Ahmed Zabana Stadium in Oran from December 17th to 24th. It is the first international tournament of rugby that takes place in Algeria, while the national union, who initiated this new meeting in the international schedule, just celebrated its first anniversary. The idea goes back to 2012 during a Rugby Africa’s General Assembly in South Africa. If Morocco and Tunisia are unions recognized by World Rugby and whose results matter in the world ranking, it is not yet the case for Algeria.
“This first edition is a historic moment and an excellent opportunity for the development of rugby in Africa”, congratulated Abdelaziz Bougja, Rugby Africa’s chairman.
“I retain of this tournament, a very good organization fromthe Algerian Rugby Union with a very good team spirit and fairplay displayed by the teams which is heart-warming, referees are also doing a great job.
“Attendance was good with women and children in the stands which is not often seen these in Algeria. The players were attentive that the mothers who came and watched the games, left with a good feeling about rugby in spite of the fact that it is a combat sport.
The presence of the governor, Algerian Olympic committee’s chairman, the general Consuls of Morocco, Tunisia, France, Portugal, Croatia and Great Britain all greeted the spirit of rugby.”