Springbok Women Made to Sweat for African Title

Lusanda Dumke, Jakkie Cilliers and Sikholiwe Mdletshe all scored twice in the Springbok Women’s 46-17 win over hosts Madagascar in their title defence of the African Rugby Cup at Stade Makis in Antananarivo, Madagascar, on Sunday, 12 May, 2024. Photo: SA Rugby

The Springbok Women successfully defended their title as African champions, but they were made to work very hard for a 46-17 victory over a never-say-die Madagascar side at Stade Makis in Antananarivo, Madagascar, on Sunday, 12 May, 2024.

With the victory in the last match of the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup, the Bok Women also booked their place at next year’s Rugby World Cup in England, as well as the WXV 2 tournament, which will be hosted in South Africa in a few months’ time.

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However, they hardly had things their own way against the passionate home team, who deserve credit for their defence and the way in which they disrupted the South Africans’ rhythm, as well as their positive approach with ball in hand.

The Springbok Women endured an up and down first half, and although they scored five tries before the break, the Malagasy also showed some enterprise on attack and tested the South Africans’ defence.

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The Boks’ scrum was probably the most dominant it’s been all tournament and the backline looked very dangerous with ball in hand as they varied the point of attack and were ruthless from turnovers, but the South Africans were guilty of making too many errors, which often cost them momentum and points.

Veroeshka Grain (wing) got the scoreboard ticking over in the ninth minute when she scored in the corner with a player from Madagascar in the sin bin, and a brilliant conversion from Jakkie Cilliers (outside centre) made it 7-0.

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A few minutes later, the Bok maul was unstoppable with Lusanda Dumke (flanker) adding her name to the score sheet. Then it was the turn of Sne Mdletshe (wing) to score two tries in four minutes and at 22-0, the Bok Women were firmly in control.

Madagascar started playing with more purpose and in the 28th minute, Nomenjanahary Aina Rakotozafy (hooker) crashed over from consistent pressure, much to the delight of the big crowd at Stade Makis.

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A few minutes later, they came close again, but this time Byrhandre Dolf (fullback) made a brilliant try-saving tackle on her own tryline. Not long thereafter, Tayla Kinsey (scrumhalf) was yellow carded for a deliberate knock-on and the momentum was firmly with the home team.

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However, the Bok Women turned the tide with a try on the stroke of half-time, by Cilliers again after some good backline play, to make it 27-5 as the teams hit the sheds.

Dumke made it a double shortly after the break when she scored a beautiful try after a good attacking move, with Cilliers’ conversion stretching the lead to 29 points.

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Rumandi Potgieter had replaced Kinsey before SA head coach Louis Koen sent on a number of fresh legs amongst the forwards, but it didn’t have an immediate effect as Madagascar kept on hammering away, winning a few breakdown turnovers in the process.

Shortly after the hour mark, Cilliers scored South Africa’s seventh try, again from a good attack out wide, and her touchline conversion made it 41-5. But the Malagasy women were not done yet and with 10 minutes to go, Marie Sophie Razafiarisoa (flyhalf) scored a brilliant try as they showed good handling from a turnover.

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Asithandile Ntoyanto (replacement prop) scored next for the Bok Women, using brute power to go over after another good attacking move, but Madagascar were rewarded for their endeavour as Oliviane Yvanah Andriatsilavina (flanker) crashed over for a converted try moments before the end of the match.

Scores in South Africa 46-17 Madagascar in the 2024 Rugby Africa Women’s Cup Title Decider, in Madagascar on Sunday, 12 May, 2024

Springbok Women 46 (27)
Tries: Veroeshka Grain, Lusanda Dumke (2), Sikholiwe Mdletshe (2), Jakkie Cilliers (2), Asithandile Ntoyanto
Conversions: Cilliers (3)

Madagascar 17 (5)
Tries: Nomenjanahary Aina Rakotozafy, Marie Sophie Razafiarisoa, Oliviane Yvanah Andriatsilavina
Conversion: Tiana Jinah Razanamahefa

Match Report SA 63-5 Kenya on Wednesday, 8 May, 2024

Match Report SA 55-0 Cameroon on Wednesday, 4 May, 2024


Original Copy: SA Rugby, with editing by gsport

Main Photo Caption: Lusanda Dumke, Jakkie Cilliers and Sikholiwe Mdletshe all scored twice in the Springbok Women’s 46-17 win over hosts Madagascar in their title defence of the African Rugby Cup at Stade Makis in Antananarivo, Madagascar, on Sunday, 12 May, 2024. Photo: SA Rugby

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