Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Rugby Africa Gold Cup final word

by Ciarán Duffy


The Rugby Africa Gold Cup is over for another year, but I couldn’t let it go without having a final word.  Here’s an 8-0 review of each teams performance.  


Namibia

Won the title for the 4th year in a row, and it’s difficult to look past them for next year's edition.  Aside from 40 minutes or so against Zimbabwe they were untouchable.  The win against Kenya was particularly impressive.  The Simbas put them under pressure, but Namibia kept them scoreless in the first half, and only conceded one score in the second.  Looking comfortable throughout, the Welwitschias appear to be set to qualify for the World Cup as Africa 1.  

Results:
W 7 – 53 vs Tunisia
W 95 – 0 vs Senegal
W 31 – 26 vs Zimbabwe
W 24 – 48 vs Uganda
W 45 – 7 vs Kenya

Kenya

The bookends of the competition will be frustrating for the Simbas.  Drawing at home to Uganda was a slip up that kept them off the top of the table during the tournament.  Weren’t as poor as the result would suggest against Namibia but were still far from winning.  Three wins kept them in the title race, and they’ll look to go a step further next year.  Nothing less than the repechage place will do, in the mix for Africa 1.  

Results:
D 33 – 33 vs Uganda
W 100 – 0 vs Tunisia
W 45 – 25 vs Senegal
W 22 – 41 vs Zimbabwe
L 45 – 7 vs Namibia

Uganda

The Cranes started well with a draw away to Kenya, having lost the first leg of the Elgon Cup a week prior.  Failed to kill the game off against Senegal but scraped through.  A comfortable win against Tunisia ensured they stayed in contention for the title, but they were outclassed against Namibia.  A routine win against Zimbabwe sees them finish behind Kenya, but only on points difference.  Plenty of positives, they have a genuine chance of getting the repechage place.

Results:
D 33 – 33 vs Kenya
W 16 – 17 vs Senegal
W 78 – 17 vs Tunisia
L 24 – 48 vs Namibia
W 38 – 12 vs Zimbabwe

Tunisia

Survival was the main aim before a ball was kicked, making a 4th place finish a great achievement.  A difficult start to the campaign left them bottom of the table early on, they happened to play the opposing teams in decreasing order of difficulty.  Regrouped well for a huge win away to Zimbabwe, they managed to move up a gear every time Zimbabwe came back into it.  Did what they had to against Senegal.  Survival again next year is achievable.

Results:
L 7 – 53 vs Namibia
L 100 – 10 vs Kenya
L 78 – 17 vs Uganda
W 23 – 31 vs Zimbabwe
W 36 – 18 vs Senegal

Zimbabwe

The most disappointing team of the tournament.  Having two rounds off after an opening victory made it difficult to build momentum, particularly when their next two games were against the two best teams.  It looked like they’d be the team to beat Namibia, shades of Irelands 2013 loss to the All Blacks, they built a big lead but ran out of steam.  They also gave Kenya a first-half scare, but were lacklustre against Tunisia and Uganda. 5th place is right.

Results:
W 16 – 28 vs Senegal
L 31 – 26 vs Namibia
L 22 – 41 vs Kenya
L 23 – 31 vs Tunisia
L 38 – 12 vs Uganda

Senegal

Staying up was always going to be a big ask.  A losing bonus point against Uganda, who they ran close, kept them off the bottom of the table for the majority of the competition, but they were left needing a win over Tunisia in the final game.  Two weeks off before the match was not ideal and it showed in their first half performance.  They nearly mounted a second-half comeback but ultimately Senegal are relegated to the 2018 Silver Cup.  

Results:
L 16 – 28 vs Zimbabwe
L 16 – 17 vs Uganda
L 95 – 0 vs Namibia
L 45 – 25 vs Kenya
L 26 – 18 vs Tunisia

Morocco

It’d be harsh to leave out Morocco considering they gained promotion to next years Gold Cup.  Winning two games in the space of three days is a difficult task, but that’s what the Silver Cup requires.  It’s unfortunate the competition runs as a straight knockout, a round-robin tournament would allow for more games against teams of a similar standard.  Home advantage benefited Morocco as they beat Madagascar in the semi-final and Ivory Coast in the final to lift the trophy.  

Results:
W 57 – 33 vs Madagascar
W 8 – 3 vs Ivory Coast

Table


Pld
Pts
PD
1
Namibia   (C)
5
25
+208
2
Kenya
5
18
+91
3
Uganda
5
16
+64
4
Tunisia
5
8
-181
5
Zimbabwe
5
6
-46
6
Senegal   (R)
5
1
-136

Final Thoughts

A challenging tournament to cover, at times it was hard to find even the names of the try scorers.  Despite that, I always enjoy watching and writing about rugby from a different part of the world.  It is ending at a good time because now I can give my full attention to the World Cup.  Yes I do capitalise the W and C in World Cup, don’t try to change me.  Enjoyed bringing the tournament to you Harpin’ on readers and I hope you enjoyed reading it.  

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Ciarán Duffy (@TheVoiceDepth) is a Leinster supporter and self-proclaimed ‘big cheese’ of Post To Post (@PostToPostSport).   He’ll write about anything rugby under the condition he gets to take it too seriously.

*****

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