Kenya: Lionesses Make Mince Meat of Madagascar in Rugby Africa Cup Opener

Nairobi — The national women's rugby team, Lionesses, lived up to their nickname as they made mince meat of hosts Madagascar 29-20 in their opening duel of the Rugby African Women's Cup on the Indian Ocean island on Saturday evening.

The ladies were jolted into the reality of the caliber of their competition when their hosts dashed into the lead courtesy of a penalty to make it 3-0.

However, Kenya were only behind for a few moments before Grace Adhiambo put them in the driving seat with an unconverted try to make it 5-3.

Spurred by a vociferous crowd at the Stade Makis, the hosts piled pressure on the Kenyans as they sought to give their fans something to smile about.

Adhiambo 'twisted the dagger in', however, when she jumped over the white line to widen the gap to 10-3 in favour of Kenya.

It went from good to better for the visitors as a penalty try offered a golden opportunity to extend their dominance, which they duly obliged by converting to leave the scores at 17-3.

Despite being down to 13 players, the Madagascars were not to be cowed, brimming with fire in the second half, which subsequently yielded another try to reduce the gap to 17-10.

However, the hosts' resurgence seemed to offend their rivals who responded like wounded lionesses, scoring another try via Judith Akumu who benefitted from some impressive donkey work by Natasha Emali.

Another try from Madagascar had the home fans on their feet as they sensed a comeback that was never to be.

Soon after, Akumu scored her second try of the afternoon after some wayward play by their guests.

However, disciplinary challenges for the Kenyans saw them reduced to 14 players, which made for a nervy ending as Madagascar sought a way back into the game.

The hosts managed to score one last, converted try but it proved to be more than just a consolation as the home girls held on for a triumphant start to their continental campaign.

They will also play against South Africa and Cameroon in their subsequent matches.

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