The first leg of Rugby Africa’s Women’s Solidarity Camp came to an exciting end in Tunisia on Sunday following two days filled with action and emotion.
The Tunisian team led by their captain Mariem Mekni, had the pleasure of winning on their home ground against Kenya, who reaffirmed their status as favourites with their ticket to the Tokyo Olympics booked, and a Madagascan team determined to secure qualification for the Tokyo showpiece at the Repechage in Monaco next month.
The Tunisian team, which will also be traveling to Monaco, nevertheless played without fear and even managed to dominate a few of their encounters as twelve games played out throughout the two-day tournament.
Despite the relative domination by the Kenya Lionesses, the “Makis” of Madagascar, who were fierce in the tackling phases, and the Tunisian Gazelles, who showed great maturity in their play inspite of their young team, also contributed to the spectacle.
Kenya, who proved to be a tough side to beat, still conceded two defeats on Matchday 1, going down 12-14 against Madagascar and 12-7 against Tunisia. This, however, did not prevent them from delivering a high-level offensive spectacle, with more than twenty tries scored over the two days.
Madagascar, meanwhile, proved to be the surprise package as they got the tournament off to a thunderous start before being caught by the increased pace of the matches. Their robust defence and the determined defensive qualities also proved to be a crowd pleaser.
Tunisia, on the other hand, took a while to find their rhythm as they suffered successive defeats against Madagascar (12-5) and (19-10) on the first day of the tournament.
However, they quickly recovered and managed to turn things around in the afternoon with a victory over Kenya (12-7).
Despite showing a steady improvement in form, the home side had to settle for draws against Madagascar (19-19) and Kenya (12-12) on the second day of the tournament and went down 10-5 and 17-5 in their other two matches against the Lionesses.
The second and last leg of the tournament will play out on 7 and 8 May.