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.

“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.

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