Image Credit: Mike Peel (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Oxford University RFC men have narrowly lost to the Madagascar national team in a match that was decided after the 80th minute. Despite being denied a victory on the opening match of their tour, OURFC will be encouraged by a performance that saw the lead change hands and finish 39 points to 35.
25,000 fans came to see the first ever match between Madagascar and an English side on 16th September in the national stadium in Antananarivo. Rugby Union is Madagascar’s national game, the small island having been Africa Cup finalists on multiple occasions yet never having qualified for the Rugby World Cup.
OURFC was founded in 1869, predating the formation the sport’s governing body, the RFU, by over a year. The team’s journey to Madagascar was not without incident, with the men’s team facing issues with ticketing at Heathrow Airport and a coach too small to accommodate them plus gear in Madagascar.
In a blog post on the OURFC website, the team said that while “bitterly disappointed”, “it took little away from what had been a great spectacle” and “look forward to another hard week of training”.
Meanwhile, Oxford’s women’s Barcelona tour kicked off with a 34-12 defeat to Poble Nou with captain Abby D’Cruz and vice captain Sophie Trott scoring tries.
Oxford’s men will hope for a win to draw the test match level as they play the Madagascar side again tomorrow, Sunday 23rd September. After returning from Madagascar, they will play the Canadian national team in Oxford on 31st October.