Nigeria’s Black Stallions have failed to qualify for the Rugby Africa Cup 2020 following a blowout 63-3 loss to the Makis XV of Madagascar on Sunday.
The Stallions have enjoyed a resurgence in recent times and were looking to reaffirm their status as a rising power on the continent by securing a place at the Africa Cup but they were thoroughly dominated by the hosts at the Mahamasina Municipal Stadium, Antananarivo with the loss also putting paid to Nigeria’s hopes of being at the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Madagascar, meanwhile, will join 12 other African teams in the group stage of the Rugby Africa Cup 2020 where they will compete with Namibia and Zambia in Group A.
It was all Madagascar from kick-off as the hosts urged on by 22,000 supporters inside the Mahamasina Municipal Stadium, imposed themselves and provided no breathing space for the Stallions who were tactically and technically outclassed in all departments.
Once man-of-the-match Herizo Rasoanaivo dit Dadatoa opened the score with a penalty in the first minute, the die was cast and it was all downhill for the Stallions.
dit Dadatoa scored 15 points in total for Madagascar with Nigeria only getting on the scoreboard with a minute to go when John Terseer Kuram, converted a penalty in the 79th minute.
Reacting to the loss, Stallions captain Godwin Dina Otoro blamed fatigue for his side’s hapless showing.
“We could have done better if the team had been in better shape. We were tired as a result of the delays we experienced during our journey. However, we also came face-to-face with a Madagascar XV that is technically astute in rugby,” he said.
Stallions head coach Bronson Weir added: “This match against the Madagascan team has been an eye-opening experience for us. We have learned a great deal, not only in terms of the match but also about the love of rugby, as displayed by the thousands of spectators.”
“To be honest, from a technical perspective, Madagascar has a lot of potential in rugby; we all saw the speed at which the Makis XV play the game. They put us under a lot of pressure and we struggled as our players were also tired. As you are aware, we experienced travel delays. To conclude, we have learned something, we have experienced new things and we will take our revenge at the next competition.”