Madagascar’s Rugby Africa Women’s Cup campaign kicked off on a fairy-tale note when they claimed a famous 27-15 win over hosts and favorites Kenya Lionesses. This incidentally was their first ever test win.
Both teams face off again on Sunday 11 July at the Nyayo International Stadium and the Ladies Makis are not about to loosen the grip. “The team is very well prepared to face Kenya on Sunday. We want to confirm that our win was no fluke,” says their Captain Veronique Rasaineka.
The team has been in a bio-bubble since they arrived and the coach, Rafalimanana Joseph Berthin thinks that it has helped them a lot especially in team in bonding. “Not going out is a good thing for us, we stay as a family and we have everything we need, a good pitch, gym, a pool, and very nice facilities,” says Berthin.
The Ladies Makis pride themselves in playing fast-paced rugby just like their counterparts the Junior Makis and the game plan is not about to change any time soon.
Before the first game, the Ladies Makis had only played four test matches and were ranked 34th on the World Rugby rankings. The win propelled them into the top thirty for the first time in their history, now ranked 29th.
Veronique is confident that the team has not let the huge leap get to their heads. “We are under no pressure, the team just wants to perform on Sunday,” says Veronique.
Veronique is also Madagascar’s 7s captain and will be the team’s talisman on Sunday having scored a brace of tries in the first game. Her experience will be called on and she is confident she will deliver. “I will always fight for the team, the team comes first,” concludes Veronique.
So far both teams have won a game each in their previous two meetings and Sunday’s game will serve as some sort of a tie-breaker. This time around, the teams head into the match with Kenya just four places better off than Madagascar.
Madagascar will play the Kenya Lionesses in an 11 am kick-off at the Nyayo National Stadium in what will be a “Super Sunday” filled with international rugby action.
– James Njenga