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Women’s Africa Cup Br...

Women’s Africa Cup Brings a Challenge for All Four Competitors

The 2024 Rugby Africa Women’s Championship that kicks off on Saturday, May 4 is huge for all participants.

There is, of course, the incentive that the winner of the tournament will get a direct entry into the Women’s World Cup 2025 in England. There is also a very difficult road for the second-placed team via the WXV3 competition later this year.

South Africa vs Cameroon  – Kick-off 13:00 Local Time (SA time noon)

Defending champions South Africa and 2023 wooden spoonists Cameroon kick off proceedings at the Stade Makis in Antananarivo on Saturday.

Although both sides have put in loads of hard work preparing for this tournament, it is difficult to see an upset resulting if last year’s 87-0 drubbing of Cameroon by South Africa is anything to go by.

The Springboks forwards were on top in 2023. With another year of hard work and perhaps an even more mobile pack of forwards, the words of Cameroon’s captain Lia Tchinka that they want to aim to stay in the first division of African rugby, is probably as good as they’ll get from the match.

South Africa’s Springboks captain Nolusindiso Booi, at the tournament for the first time, said that they had prepared well. She is also happy that this is a tournament where her team can grow and not a one-off match.

“We’re very happy with the way we prepared. We will play or game and implement everything we did at training and do everything that we prepared all the time. And we will focus,” she emphasized.

“This is a massive game and tournament for us, as this is our pathway to England, so there is no lack of focus on what we need to do,” said Booiin in an interview with SA Rugby.

Cameroon, probably less confident after the rubbing last year, had their own goal.

“We hope to stay in the Africa first division and to promote rugby in Africa and Cameroon especially,” said captain Lina Tchinka Fosso. “We are well prepared for the tournament and will do our best.”

Madagascar vs Kenya – Kick-off 15:00 Local Time (SA time 14:00)

A much closer match than the first, again going by the 2023 result, could be on the cards. Kenya won 29-20 last year, but may just have the edge courtesy of the experience gained during their shortish stint in the WXV3 before they were relegated.

Kenya Lioness captain Natasha Emali probably summed up the excitement and determination of the four national teams on the eve of the tournament.

There was quiet confidence from Emali … and the realization that the tournament for them is “very big”, with an outside chance to make it to the 2025 Women’s  Rugby World Cup in England next year.

“I know that the other teams have been working hard in preparing for the tournament, as we have. We don’t expect easy games, we will give our all.”

Emali says they will not let the expected large home crowd affect them, “We have put in the hard work and it is now a case of putting our mind to the match and being in the right mind space despite the crowd.”

Their opponents, Madagascar, will no doubt be buoyed by the huge crowd,    and their captain Fenitriniaina said that the chance of participating in the World Cup will bring out the best in her team.

Their clash with Kenya could well be the highlight of the six-match tournament.

All matches will be live-streamed on the official Rugby Africa Facebook and YouTube Page.