Senegal A took the spoils at the Northern Zone Trophy of the Confederation of African Rugby (CAR) championship at the weekend.
The Senegalese followed two earlier victories against Togo, 65-0, and Ghana, 38-0, with a more hard-fought 13-6 win against hosts Niger in the final in the nation's capital, Niamey.
The tournament, featuring Niger, Senegal A, Congo, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Benin, Togo and Mali, was played over four match days from 17 to 24 July at the Stade Général Seyni Kountché.
Rugby missionary offers helping hand
One interested observer was Frenchman Alain Gaillard, the former Castres and Clermont Ferrand coach who has recently offered a helping hand to the IRB's regional development manager for northern Africa, Jean-Luc Barthes.
The 60-year-old enjoyed a successful 15-year professional rugby career, coaching Castres to the French championship and holding the position of President of the French rugby coach's union, and has decided to lend his considerable experience to African rugby during his retirement.
"There's a huge reservoir of potential for rugby in Africa, the players are very athletic with muscular builds well suited to the game. The problems lie in infrastructure, organisation and coaching," Gaillard told Total Rugby Radio recently.
"Essentially, Africa's a football continent but the project excites me enormously. First of all it's a new experience and then there's a great deal of work to be done in the coaching and training area, which I know well from my time in France."
Gaillard will work alongside Barthes at many of the IRB coaching and training clinics in northern and French-speaking Africa, purely on a voluntary basis.
"You'll always find players because rugby is such a dynamic game, the important thing is to train coaches and also the trainers training them, to give them all the tools they need to give the players the best possible starting point in the game.
"The best African players will always want to go abroad and play the game professionally, but they represent just the tip of the iceberg. It's the rest of the players, the rest of the iceberg, that I want to work with to help give them the best possible outlook in the Game and in order to help raise the overall level of the coaches, the instructors and the players."
Final standings - CAR Trophy North 2010
1 Senegal A
5 Burkina Faso
Niger 23-6 Congo
Burkina Faso 3-20 Mali
Ghana 31-0 Benin
Togo 0-65 Senegal A
Benin 5-12 Togo
Congo 0-21 Burkina Faso
Niger 6-3 Mali
Ghana 0-38 Senegal A
Congo 55-17 Benin
Burkina Faso 17-8 Togo
Mali 17-8 Ghana
Niger 6-13 Senegal A
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