Madagascar have kept their Rugby World Cup 2015 dream alive by defeating Uganda 48-32 to retain their place in the top division of the Confederation Africaine de Rugby (CAR) Africa Cup in Antananarivo.
The remarkable feat in front of 40,000 expectant fans in Madagascar’s capital, means that they are now only two matches away from a place at England 2015 and a chance to showcase the ever- increasing depth of African Rugby on a global stage.
Madagascar will now join Kenya, who were crowned CAR Africa Cup champions after defeating Zimbabwe 29-17 in the decisive match, Zimbabwe and Namibia in the four-team top division in 2014 – an event that will deliver the Africa 1 qualifier for Rugby World Cup 2015 and a place in Pool C alongside champions New Zealand, Argentina, Tonga and Europe 1.
Kenya and Zimbabwe were assured their place in next year’s competition before the final round of matches on Sunday, and therefore the focus for a vociferous crowd in party mood was the relegation decider, with the home team cheered all the way to victory.
The runners-up in Africa’s premier event in 2014 will progress to the Rugby World Cup 2015 repechage process where they will meet a European opponent with the winners of that match qualifying for the repechage final where they will play the winners of the Asia v Americas repechage process home and away. The repechage winner will qualify for England 2015 in Pool A alongside Australia, England, Wales and Oceania 1.
CAR Chairman Abdelaziz Bougja said: “The CAR Africa Cup continues to demonstrate the significant performance and development strides being made in Africa, reaching out to new audiences across a continent that has witnessed the largest increase in population since 2007 with 33 per cent more men, women and children attracted to the sport and its character-building values.”
“Congratulations to Madagascar for joining Kenya, Zimbabwe and Namibia in next year’s CAR African Cup Division 1A. It will be a thrilling competition and I can’t wait to see who books their place at Rugby World Cup 2015 to fly the flag for Africa alongside South Africa.”
The CAR Africa Cup has a close affiliation with Rugby World Cup. Rugby’s showcase event has provided the financial engine for the IRB to invest GBP7.32 in partnership with CAR between 2009-2012 in competition, high performance and strategic programmes to ensure that African nations become more competitive on the world stage, that more people can participate and engage with the sport and in order that the awareness and profile of Rugby continues throughout the Region.
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