The second annual North Africa Tri-Nations took place over the last two weeks. It was contested between Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria.
Morocco won the Rugby Africa Silver Cup this year, and will compete in next years Rugby Africa Gold Cup. They beat Madagascar in the semi-finals and Ivory Coast in the final. Morocco won the 2016 edition of the North Africa Tri-Nations, winning both their games.
Tunisia finished 4th in the 2017 Rugby Africa Gold Cup, ahead of Zimbabwe and Senegal. They played their first international in 1979. Tunisia came 2nd in last years Tri-Nations, beating Algeria.
Algeria are the newest team in the competition, their Rugby Federation was established in 2015, and Tunisia was their first home game in the same year. They did play some unofficial games before then. Algeria beat Zambia in the North/South Bronze cup final, they will play in the silver cup next year. Algeria finished 3rd in last years Tri-Nations with two losing bonus points.
In the first match, on Saturday 16th, defending champions Morocco beat Tunisia 17 – 16. Tunisia haven’t beaten Morocco in Morocco for over 25 years. Mendi Benyachou got the only try for Morocco in the 16th minute. Most of the scores came from the boots of Chakir Hmidouche for Morocco and Chamseddine Khalifa for Tunisia. Tunisia got a late try which was converted by Khalifa. It was a tight game, like last years encounter which Morocco won 14 – 12.
On Wednesday the 20th Algeria beat Tunisia 36 – 13. Algeria got the games first try through Yazid Chouchane, then extended their lead with a penalty from Yoan Saby. Khalifa got Tunisa on the board with his 2nd penalty attempt. Algeria had most of the territory after that and Boris Bouhraoua got their 2nd try to make the half time score 17 – 3. The second half started well for Tunisia with a try 3 minutes in, but Algeria hit back off the back of a scrum with Rémi Cardon touching down. They’d get two more tries, first Sofian Youcef got over off a lineout maul, then Djamel Ouchene got their 5th try. Tunisia got a consolation try off a lineout in the 85th minute. Click here for highlights.
In the final game on Saturday the 23rd, Morocco beat Algeria 20 – 13 to win the tournament. Algeria led 3 – 6 at halftime, they got two drop goals from Bensalla to one Hmidouche penalty. Hmidouche equalized with a penalty early in the 2nd half, before Morocco got over for a converted try. Both sides got a converted try in the latter stages.
Morocco had a clear advantage with a week between their two matches, while Tunisa and Algeria had short turnarounds. Hopefully in the future the tournament could take place over three weeks. The tournament ends what was a great year for Morocco, claiming the Rugby Africa Silver Cup as well.
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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