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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Classic Encounters - Madagascar host Namibia in epic high scoring battle

One of the games of the season played out at an unlikely venue recently, a beautiful land perhaps nowdaways known more for its animated namesake. Madagascar hosted Namibia for the Africa Cup Division 1B title, and the match was a classic.

The following fascinating report from Total Rugby sheds light on a rugby region that it's fair to say, a large majority of us had no idea existed. Former French colony Madagascar, as you will learn below, lives and dies for the sport.

Over 40 000 screeching fans turned out to support their side at the Mahamasina Stadium in Antananaviro, where Senegal edged out Morocco as a curtain raiser for the main event.

With Namibia being the second highest ranked African team, and of course with Rugby World Cup experience in four tournaments, the home side weren't expected to be a massive challenge for the team that were ranked 35 places ahead of them going into the match.

Madagascar shot off to a 19-0 lead in the first quarter which had their fans in raptures. The rest of the game was a see-saw battle and ended with over 100 points scored between the two teams.

"The supporters were fanatical and there was so much noise, you could not hear yourself think. I think that affected our team and the pressure got to them," said Namibia's William Steenkamp.

A final score of 57-54 to the home side means that after losing this Confédération Africaine de Rugby  Championship Division 1B match, Namibia now have a lot to do to qualify for the RWC.

They need to win Division 1B next year, to ensure they are part of Division 1A in 2014, when the winner will qualify as Africa 1, and the runner-up will enter the Répechage.

Thanks to Total Rugby for this detailed and dramatic video report of the match. You can also view the Madagascar wardance in it's entirety here

Posted by Rugbydump at 1:18 pm | View Comments (26)

Viewing 26 comments

BestHookerInTown July 19, 2012 4:56 pm

Absolutely amazing running rugby and fascinating to watch. Is there anyway were on the internet were we could watch this in it's entirety? I'd love to watch this full thing.

On a side note it's a pity between the professional countries and smaller countries like these. I mean surely Namibia could enter a team or two into the Super Rugby championship? It would grow the sport enormously and help developing countries at the same time.

Hats off to Madagascar. Hopefully we'll be cheering them on in world cup 2015.

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kefaloskev July 19, 2012 5:50 pm

Rugbydump, thank you so much for posting this. Must agree with "Besthookers" comment that I would love to see more of that; any chance of posting more of the tournament??

Namibia must be wondering what on earth happened? They have been a regular at RWC for a number of cycles and have never looked out of place. However, some of the Madegascan Rugby was sublime; if you didn't know it was a French Colony at one time, you could have guessed by some of the slight of hand and some terrific running lines.

I have been a lover of our great game for more than 50 years. At times I have been somewhat critical of some of the "professional attitudes" that have crept into the game. That short clip has been the perfect antidote for an old cynic... terrific rugby being played by countries way down the rankings... more please!!!

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Manuel July 19, 2012 6:43 pm

I completely agree with you guys. This kind of magic is only plausible in smaller and "unprofessional" rugby spheres. This must be the best highlight reel I've seen in RugbyDump. Just magical

We are now aware the damage "professionalism" inflicts on sports.

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John July 19, 2012 7:10 pm

If Namibia have appeared at the last 4 RWCs, why are they in the B group? And which teams are above them in the elite A group then?

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Joony July 19, 2012 9:37 pm

John, As far as I'm aware, Namibia failed to play the tournament last year (along with Morocco) and so both teams were relegated to the B division. The A competition was won by Zimbabwe who beat Tunisia (who held the competition) and Uganda in the final. They are now the third Best team in Africa according to the IRB rankings.

As for the match, I agree with everyone that it's great to see such great running rugby and passion from the crowd. The final try was amazing and the skill level looked surprisingly good.

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JAVI July 19, 2012 7:32 pm

INSPIRATIONAL, great Rugby. Congratulations Madagascar.

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Michael July 19, 2012 7:37 pm

As far as I remember, Group A consists of Kenya, Uganda, Tunisia and Zimbabwe.

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Ash July 19, 2012 7:52 pm

That guy @0:28 would be a great lifter in the lineout.

But seriously, this is really amazing stuff. We can sometimes think rugby is only a sport for about 14 or so countries, but when you see stuff like this it makes you really appreciate the game of rugby. I'd love to see the fans reactions to a major team visiting in some of these countries like Madagascar or even Georgia and other places where rugby is popular but the fans never get to see the best in the world play. It could really boost the games global appeal.

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Pretzel July 19, 2012 10:49 pm

Madagascar... who'd have thought...

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RamRugby10 July 20, 2012 3:35 am

It's one thing to go onto the IRB website and look at the rankings to see the lower order countries occassionally move up and down, but to see highlights of the actual game is unreal!

It really puts eveything into perspective. Even though these teams might rank many places below the world leaders, the level of play (as highlighted in the video) really isn't as ar off as one might presume.

Keep the highlights coming RD!

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Pretzel July 20, 2012 7:04 pm

Probably all comes down to levels of discipline and levels of cool headedness.... The "better" teams would know how to get under lesser teams skins...

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cheyanqui July 20, 2012 4:38 am

120 clubs, 8000 fans at a 1st grade match? sounds like a cool place to go on tour.

heck, I think there are NPC teams that would kill for 8000 at their stadium.

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cheyanqui July 20, 2012 4:43 am

Several teams did not participate in last year's African comps, and as a result were relegated one notch down.

I wonder if Namibia's leadership did the math last year, and thought that they could take a relegation in 2012, and still find their way back into the qualification division for 2014.

They could have gotten relegated from 2011-12, win an easy division this year, and then find themselves back in the qualification zone in 2014 (to qualify for 2015).

Then again, maybe they forgot to tell the Malagasy boys their plan.

Anyone know why Namibia and so many other teams failed to play last year? Was it finances, availabilty of national team players, security concerns?

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breakaway July 20, 2012 6:50 am

Love this.. the attitude, skills, crowd, everything. With SA an automatic qualifier, the winner of this current process also goes through to the WC, and the runner-up has a chance through a repechage system against one of the Euro runners-up. So it's possible for 3 African nations to make WC 2015. That'd be good. Madagascar to take the 2031 World Cup, you heard it here first!

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rugby08 July 20, 2012 9:10 am

I like to move it move it

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Gleps July 20, 2012 9:14 am

I was in the stadium for this game and I can easily tell you that I never saw such a game before! The crowd and the scenario made it unbelievable!

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Gleps July 20, 2012 9:18 am

To be more accurate : 35 000 to 40 000 supporters came to the Mahamasina Stadium!

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katman July 20, 2012 9:52 am

Great stuff. Monster hit right at the end, and brilliant for the bloke not to cough up possession.

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stroudos July 20, 2012 9:58 am

Wonderful stuff. Love the wardance too!! GGRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

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Colombes July 20, 2012 12:34 pm

A big thank u to RD to show that rugby is a global thing, and not a party between 10 nations
more IRB will help this federations, more rugby will be reinforced and better/harder/stronger will be the Wor(ld Cup

"i love this game"

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Alex July 21, 2012 3:22 am

Just wonderful! Go Madagascar, one of the stars of the future!!

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Hry July 21, 2012 11:34 pm

Reckon the Madagascans might be beating the Scots in five years or so

(disclaimer: I'm Scottish; just a bit of irreverent humour over here)

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browner July 24, 2012 11:30 am

I like the footwork skills of some of the backs, and maybe a better outcome in world 7's than in 15's ?
The most amazing thing [looking at the pitch] is that any of them have any knees left !

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RobinPooley July 22, 2012 12:11 pm

I really enjoyed that. Thanks RD!

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Gary July 22, 2012 1:46 pm

Good match.

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tvrdoglavi September 18, 2013 3:00 pm

I finally found some more update on the best news from last year:

GO MAKIS!!! What a night it has been that day, I'm sure....

more from the same uploader:

Apparently the team was decorated by the president:

View Videos

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