Senegal and Madagascar are successfully through to the group phase of the Rugby Africa Cup 2020 after enjoying big wins against Mauritius and Nigeria respectively in the qualifiers for the restructured tournament.
Cheered on by a supportive home crowd in Dakar, Senegal wasted no time in taking control of the match, building up a 39-0 half-time lead before adding 24 more unanswered points after the break in a convincing 63-0 win.
“It’s a team victory. We defended well and the local players really played well. It’s a great achievement for the team,” said Senegal's man of the match Mamadou Ndiaye, clearly delighted that the Lions had at last broken a seven-match losing streak dating back to 2016.
A day later a 22,000 crowd inside the Mahamasina Stadium in Antananarivo witnessed a comfortable 63-3 win for Madagascar against Nigeria.
Despite losing a man to the sin-bin, Nigeria only conceded 13 points in the first half but Madagascar pulled clear in the second 40 minutes.
"I am very happy with this result and proud of our team," said Madagascar coach Philippe Canitrot. "The players applied the instructions and they played with heart.
"I am satisfied, but a lot more effort and hard work is required because we are going to a higher level with much more experienced teams."
Senegal will now take their place in Group C alongside Uganda and Algeria, while Madagascar will meet Namibia and Zambia in Group A when the region's 12 top teams come together next year.
Neither result affected the positioning of the teams in the World Rugby Men's Rankings given they are ranked significantly higher than their visitors, with the one-hundredth of a rating point picked up by Madagascar the only change.
Madagascar remain the highest ranked team in 51st, just behind Trinidad and Tobago, while Senegal are three places further back in 54th, Nigeria are 70th and Mauritius 93rd.