Author: Michael Kwambo

Director of Communications U20 Barthés Trophy Nairobi

Mutai counts on Chipu’s systems ahead of Barthes Trophy decider

Defending Champions Kenya opened their U20 Barthes Trophy campaign with a huge 50-3 win over Senegal on Saturday 26 June 2021 and will be looking to replicate the same performance when they face Madagascar in the last fixture of this year’s tournament.

Kenya unlike Madagascar has been in camp for almost three weeks and the Team Manager, former Kenyan International scrum-half Peter Mutai believes this will work to their advantage.

Peter Mutai

“The camp has been good; we have gotten to be together for the past three weeks. We have worked on our systems and polished the mistakes we made against Senegal and we are now working on a system to take on Madagascar,” says Mutai.

Chipu sat out last weekend’s game and Mutai is confident they have enough knowledge on Madagascar’s game to develop a winning formula. “The team, as well as the technical bench, has watched Madagascar’s game against Senegal and it has helped us in preparing,” adds Mutai.

The game on Sunday will be a winner takes it all kind of game and the defending champions are not taking any chances. “We are leaving nothing to chance. Madagascar is better than Senegal so we expect a really tough game. We are really prepared,” says Mutai.

Kenya U20s huddle up before their 50-3 win over Senegal at the Nyayo National Stadium on Saturday 26 June 2021

Physicality and dominance have been pillars of the Kenyan game for years and that might just be on display again this weekend. “We want to be very brutal in our set-pieces and very clinical in our finishing,” says Mutai.

Senegal gave Kenya a run for their money in the first half of their game. This time round, Mutai is hoping for a different approach from the start.

“Sometimes it takes a while to get going and the team might find it difficult to score. We are hoping for a quicker and faster start this weekend. That is why we have named a strong starting fifteen and an even stronger bench,” says Mutai.

Kenya will be using this tournament as preparation for next year’s Junior World Trophy. There is really no pressure to perform according to the former Kenya International. “The boys have come a long way; the coaches have done a great job. We know some boys will leave the team after the tournament but we still have a core of around fifteen players we will build on next year. So far we do not really feel any pressure.”

“For us it is all about the system. The system helps you beat defenses as well as build defenses. The system also helps you score points that is why we are keen on developing our very own full-functional system of play,” concludes Mutai.

The final ranking will be determined after the game. Kenya will take on Madagascar in the 1.30 pm kick-off on Sunday at the Nyayo National Stadium in what has been dubbed the “Super Sunday.”

-James Njenga/U20 Barthes Trophy Media Team

Madagascar expect physical battle against Kenya in Barthes Trophy decider

Nairobi, Friday 9 July 2021….Despite a late arrival for the U20 Barthes Trophy in Nairobi, the Junior Maki’s went ahead and shocked Senegal with a 34-3 victory in their first game at the Nyayo National Stadium.

The Junior Makis have certainly been impressive with their fleet feet and fast-paced rugby.

They head into this weekend’s fixture against Kenya refreshed after a week of recovery and preparations and the camp is looking lively according to skipper and talisman, Setra Solofoniaina Andriamasinjanahary.

“We have had more than enough time to recover. I am feeling okay and the whole team is also fine and ready to go this weekend,” says Setra. These two sides are no strangers to each other having last met in the same competition on 28 March 2018 at the Hage Geingob Stadium in Windhoek. Kenya won the game 51-13.

Action between Madagascar and Senegal on 3 July 2021 at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi. Madagascar won this clash 34-3

The coach, Rakotoarivelo Mboazafy Noé insists that they are here for the trophy. “We want nothing less than to be crowned U20 champions of Africa.”

Sunday’s game against hosts and defending champions Chipu of Kenya is winner takes it all and Setra, and his team, is anxiously waiting for the moment. “We have been waiting for this moment since we played Senegal. Our training sessions have been geared towards countering Kenya’s strengths and we cannot wait,” adds Setra.

Despite their impressive showing against Senegal last weekend, Setra and his coach are not blind to the fact that the Kenyans are bigger and they have devised a way to counter that aspect. “The Kenyans are big, we are smaller so we have devised our own trick to beat them, we just have to wait for Sunday,” concludes Setra.

Madagascar were 34-3 winners over Senegal in U20 Barthes Trophy action at the Nyayo National Stadium on 3 July 2021

Madagascar will be relying heavily on influential center Salotra Lucas Rakotomalala who scored a brace of tries against Senegal and is joint-second on the tournament’s try-scoring charts.

The team has been training in a bio-bubble environment the whole tournament and despite not being able to move around Nairobi, Setra is happy with the City under the sun. “Nairobi is a very good place. Our stay in Kenya so far has been very good. We have no complaints,” adds Setra.

The tournament is being played in a round-robin format and the final rankings will be determined after the game.

Madagascar will take on Kenya in the 1.30 pm kick-off on Sunday 11 July in what has been dubbed the “Super Sunday.”

-James Njenga/U20 Barthes Trophy Media Team

Top point scorers after match day two

Kenya utility back Matoka Matoka leads the points scoring charts at the 2021 U20 Barthes Trophy after two rounds of action at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium on 26th June and 3rd July.

A total of 90 points have been scored in the competition thus far, coming off 14 tries, 4 penalties and 4 conversions. No drop goal has been scored yet.

Matoka has 15 points coming off 1 try, 2 conversions and 2 penalties.

Three players are on 10 points namely Madagascar’s Salotra Lucas Rakotomalala and the Kenyan duo of William Opaka and Tyson Juma. The trio also collectively leads the top try scorer’s chart having scored 2 tries apiece.

Four Madagascar players namely Erica Bruno Randrianantenaina,Elson Gabriel Nomenjanahary Hasina,Francky Kefu Randriatiana and Alain Alexandre Randriafara as well as Kenyans Reinhard Ngaira, Ibrahim Ayodi and Anderson Oduor each have 5 points, having scored a try apiece.

The Senegalese duo of Ameth Sall and Mamadou Nguissaly Sarr both have 3 points, each having landed a penalty in their team’s losses to Kenya and Madagascar respectively.

The Madagascar duo of Fiononona Rolland Rakotoson and Lionel Hadjy Rahajanirina round off the scorers charts, each scoring 2 points from conversions in their team’s 34-3 win over Senegal on Saturday 3 July 2021.

The actions comes to a close on Sunday 11 July 2021 when defending champions Kenya and Madagascar face off in a winner takes all clash at the Nyayo National Stadium to determine the 2021 U20 Barthes Trophy champion.

NAMETEAMTRYCONVERSIONPENALTYDROP GOALTOTAL POINTS
Matoka MatokaKENYA122015
Salotra Lucas RakotomalalaMADAGASCAR200010
William OpakaKENYA200010
Tyson JumaKENYA200010
Erica Bruno RandrianantenainaMADAGASCAR10005
Elson Gabriel Nomenjanahary HasinaMADAGASCAR10005
Francky Kefu RandriatianaMADAGASCAR10005
Alain Alexandre RandriafaraMADAGASCAR10005
Reinhard NgairaKENYA10005
Ibrahim AyodiKENYA 10005
Anderson OduorKENYA10005
Ameth SallSENEGAL00103
Mamadou Nguissaly SarrSENEGAL00103
Fiononona Rolland RakotosonMADAGASCAR01002
Lionel Hadjy RahajanirinaMADAGASCAR 01002

Matoka, Salotra shine bright in Nairobi

The U20 Barthes Trophy kicked off in Nairobi on Saturday 26 June 2021 with a clash between hosts Kenya and Senegal who were third place finishers the last time the competition was held in 2019.

When the action got underway at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium, it was Kenyan winger Andrew Matoka who got the scoring underway, landing the tournament’s first eight points through a try and penalty. It will be recalled that it was Matoka who scored the last points of the 2019 competition, kicking Kenya to a 21-18 win over Namibia that saw them crowned the new Africa U20 champions and in the process, claiming Africa’s sole ticket to that year’s World Rugby Junior Trophy in Brazil.

His contribution with boot and ball in this year’s opener accounted for 15 of Kenya’s points in the 50-3 win over Senegal as the youngster, who has also been capped at test level for Kenya used the experience gained in recent years to calm the nerves of his team mates, many of whom are playing in their first U20 Barthes Trophy.

Action between Madagascar and Senegal

Not to be outdone was Madagascar’s Salotra Rokomalala Lucas who had a blinder of game when his side took on Senegal in match day two action at the same venue on Saturday 3 July 2021.

Quick thinking from the Junior Makis inside center saw him execute a deft chip that was expertly claimed by scrum half Erica Bruno who touched down thirty five seconds into the tie, scoring the fastest try of the tournament thus far.

Lucas would be rewarded with two tries either side of half time as Magadascar consigned Senegal to a 34-3 defeat.

When he was not scoring tries, Lucas was at the center of everything creative from Madagascar, his evasive running and elusive pace a joy to watch.

Kenya and Madagascar will clash on Sunday to determine the winner of the 2021 U20 Barthes Trophy and it will be exciting to watch these two players come up against each other as the next generation of African rugby stars continue with their quest for success in Nairobi.

Madagascar off to a winning start

Madagascar’s Junior Makis began their U20 Barthes Trophy campaign in style, blowing away Senegal 34-3 at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi on Saturday 3 July 2021.

Scrum half Erica Bruno scored a converted try thirty five seconds after kickoff, pouncing on the clever chip from outside center Salotra Lucas to touch down for the game’s opener.

Madagascar with their pre-match ritual

They continued to excite with their fancy footwork and high intensity rugby, and inevitably went further ahead, first from the boot of fullback Elson Gabriel who drilled home a penalty before Lucas finally got his try.

Asane Ndiaye drilled home a penalty for Senegal in the closing stages of the firsthalf, Madagascar taking the 15-3 lead into the break.

Second half action saw the Indian Ocean islanders up the ante, working the ball off a quickly taken line out, blindside flank Alain Rakotovao’s incisive running resulting in a try, Gabriel converting to put Madagascar 22-3 up.

They scored two more tries, Lucas landing his brace after Madagascar did well to recycle the ball, Gabriel converting to see Madagascar leading Senegal 29-3.

Action between Madagascar and Senegal

Replacement back row Francky Kefu finished off a flowing move, scoring at the death as the game ended 34-3 in Madagascar’s favor. 

Speaking after the game, Madagascar’s Coach Rakotoarivelo Mboazafy Noé said, “The game was good, I am very happy we won. We are very grateful to Kenya for organizing such a good tournament.”


It was sweet revenge for the Makis of Madagascar who avenged their 34-32 loss to Senegal in the same competition in 2015. The win however did not come without mistakes. “We made a lot of mistakes in the game and this week we will be working on that before our next game,” adds Noé.

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“Everyone in Madagascar was very happy. It is a big motivation to the President of Madagascar too to continue supporting the sport financially and with all the resources that we need for future tournaments “concluded Noé.


Madagascar will now face hosts Kenya in the last match of the round-robin tournament on Sunday 11 July at the same venue.

Senegal looking to make amends against Madagascar

Senegal’s tournament did not start on a fairy-tale note as they went down 50-3 to Kenya U20 in the opening fixture of this year’s U20 Barthes Trophy played at the Nyayo National Stadium on Saturday 26 June. 

They however have an opportunity to correct their wrongs when they take on Madagascar U20 on Saturday 3 July at the same venue. The two teams are no strangers to each other, they last met in this very tournament in 2015. Senegal walked away 34-32 winners. 

And their Captain Ameth Sarr is confident that they will make amends this time and come out with another victory. “Our last game was not one that we hoped for but we have another chance to make it right this weekend. We have watched Madagascar and they play a very fast-paced game. Our training has incorporated such and we are ready for the game,” says Sarr. 

Ameth Sarr managed the only points Senegal scored against Kenya, a penalty goal, and he is hoping his team can capitalize on more mistakes made by their opponents. 

“We are ready for everything and anything they throw our way and we will make sure to capitalize on any opportunity that presents itself,” adds Sarr.

“Our discipline against Kenya was not at par with what we had planned but the team has had enough time to work on that,” concludes Sarr.
Despite a few injuries against Kenya on Saturday, Sarr insists that they have a fully fit squad ready to battle Madagascar. 

Senegal will take on Madagascar in a 1.30 pm kickoff at the Nyayo National Stadium as part of the “Super Saturday” international rugby bonanza. 

Madagascar ready to rumble at this year’s U20 Barthes Trophy in Nairobi

The Madagascar U20 team arrived in Nairobi on Wednesday evening and will take part in the 2021 U20 Barthes Trophy against Senegal and hosts Kenya at the Nyayo National Stadium.

Madagascar are late entrants into the tournament after having troubles traveling due to a closed air space necessitate by an upsurge in coronavirus cases in the island nation.

Their first game comes fast against 2019’s U20 Barthes Trophy second runners up Senegal U20.  It is not the first time these two sides are playing each other in this competition, their last encounter dating back to 2015. Senegal emerged 34-32 victors in what was a high-scoring yet very close encounter. 

The captains pose for a group photo

Madagascar’s team Captain, SetraSolofoniaina is optimistic that they will come good on Saturday. “We have played Senegal before, we know how they play and we have certainly improved as a team since our last match with them,” says Setra.

The Malagasy boys are aware that they will be facing a wounded Senegal U20 who lost their opening match 50-3 against the hosts Kenya last Saturday and will be looking to tread carefully.

“I will not disclose a lot but we have a game plan to tackle Senegal and we are sure it will work come Saturday afternoon,” concludes Setra.

Madagascar U20 will take on Senegal U20 in a 1.30 pm kickoff at the Nyayo National Stadium as part of an action-packed “Super Saturday”. The other games on offer are: Kenya Lionesses vs Madagascar (RAC) at 11 am and Kenya vs Senegal (RAC) at 4 pm.

Team Madagascar finally lands in Kenya for the 2021 U20 Barthés Trophy and Rugby Africa Women’s Cup

Flying their flag proudly, Madagascar has finally landed in Kenya for The U20 Barthés Trophy which kicked off on June 26 at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium and will run until July 11, 2021.

Initially hit by travelling restrictions and closed borders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rugby Africa was able to assist with sending the team to Kenya, while adhering to COVID-19 procedures and protocols.

Vying for this year’s African Junior Champion title will be defending champions Kenya, Senegal and now Madagascar. The fourth team, Namibia, were forced to miss the tournament as increased number of Covid cases in the country prevented them from travelling.

As a result of their withdrawal, one match was played on Saturday 26 June. Hosts and defending champions Kenya defeated Senegal 50 -3 in that encounter.

The remaining fixtures are as follows

1)      3 July: Senegal versus Madagascar

2)      11 July: Kenya versus Madagascar

The U20 Barthes Trophy symbolizes the start of three weeks of international rugby action taking place on Kenyan soil. Their men’s fifteens national team, Simbas will host Zambia and Senegal in the Rugby Africa Cup between 3 and 11 July while their women’s fifteens squad, Lionesses will play Madagascar on 3 and 11 July.

The President of Malagasy Rugby Union Marcel Rakotomalala said it would be the first time that three national Malagasy teams would be travelling together to participate in three competitions.

“We are extremely thrilled that three of our national teams will be proudly representing Madagascar in Kenya, and we are grateful for all the support shown by our host Kenya Rugby Union. This has been because of a lot of hard work, negotiation and determined collaboration with Rugby Africa to find solutions to travel challenges caused by border closures in Madagascar due to the pandemic. All three teams have been in camp, preparing for the tournaments and eager to play.”

Chairman of the Kenya Rugby Union OduorGangla said: “On behalf of the KRU, I wish to extend a very warm welcome to Madagascar Rugby teams on their tour to Kenya. We commend the Malagasy Rugby Union and Rugby Africa for doing all things necessary to ensure that the tour takes off and Madagascar is able to participate in both the Barthes Trophy and the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup.”

“Their actions embody the solidarity of the rugby family and we applaud them for their courage in continuing to play the game despite the levels of the pandemic. We look forward to their participation in making the international events a phenomenal success,” he added.

Sponsored by the Société Générale, The U20 Barthés Trophy is the only junior tournament in Africa where generally eight national U20 teams compete for the title. It is held on an annual basis and the winners of the competition earn the right to represent the African continent at the World Rugby Junior Trophy.

In 2019, Kenya hosted and won the competition, defeating the then champions Namibia 21-18. The team went on to finish sixth at that year’s World Rugby Junior Trophy tournament in Brazil.

In early 2020, Rugby Africa granted Barthes Trophy hosting rights to the Kenya Rugby Union for a three-year period until 2022.

Unfortunately, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the competition could not be held in 2020. At the time competing teams included Kenya, Namibia, Senegal, Madagascar, Tunisia, Zimbabwe, Côte d’Ivoire, Zambia.

This year’s U20 BarthésTrophy, however, will be a good preparation for Kenya – who automatically qualify for and will also host the 2022 Junior World Rugby Trophy at Nairobi’s Nyayo national stadium.

Saturday 3 July 2021

Kenya Lionesses v Madagascar- 1100am (RAC women)

Senegal U20 v Madagascar U20 – 1.30pm (U20 Barthes Trophy)

Kenya v Senegal – 4.00pm (RAC)

Wednesday 7 July

Senegal v Zambia – 3.00pm (RAC)

Sunday 11 July

Kenya v Madagascar – 11.00am (RAC Women)

Kenya U20 v Madagascar U20- 1.30pm (U20 Barthes Trophy)

Kenya v Zambia – 4.00pm (RAC)

Wednesday arrival for Madagascar as U20 Barthes Trophy continues

Madagascar will land in Nairobi on Wednesday 30 June ahead of their U20 Barthes Trophy fixtures against Senegal on 3 July and Kenya on 11 July at the Nyayo National Stadium.

Also landing in Nairobi on the same flight will be the Madagascar women’s national team who will play two Rugby Africa Women’s Cup test matches against the Lionesses on the same dates at the same venue

Winning start for Kenya as U20 Barthes Trophy kicks off in Nairobi

Kenya U20, popularly known as Chipu, defeated Senegal U20 50-3 in the first match of this year’s U20 Barthes Trophy played on Saturday 26th June 2021 at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi.

Matoka Matoka and Tyson Juma scored a brace each as Reinhard Mwalati, Anderson Oduor, Ibrahim Ayodi and William Opaka grabbed a try each. Matoka Matoka added two penalties and two conversions.  Senegal managed a penalty goal through their Captain Ameth Sarr.