Brand new stadium opens in Madagascar

(IRB.COM) Friday 11 January 2013
 Brand new stadium opens in Madagascar
Madagascar won the first official game at Stade Makis

A brand new Rugby Stadium in Madagascar has been described as a "significant" boost for the Game in the region.

Stade Makis, which has already been branded locally as the "Temple of Rugby", was officially opened by Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina on the western side of the capital Antananarivo.

The stadium, which can hold between 10 and 15,000 fans, is the first and only one of its kind in Madagascar. It  will also host athletics and other sporting competitions.

The new facility includes a new gym, training pitch, and will host the new offices of the Madagascar Union when construction is fully completed in March.

President of the Confédération Africaine de Rugby Abdelaziz Bougia said: "The stadium is great news for Madagascar. It will give the country the opportunity to express itself through Rugby."

"Madagascar now has more than 150 clubs, and the opening of Stade Makis means Rugby can be independent in the country as well as generating new revenues in the future. I'm delighted for Madagascar and also for Africa, it really is a significant boost for Rugby in the region."

A huge crowd turned out for the first official match to be held in the new stadium when Madagascar took on a Select XV, which saw the national team emerge triumphant, winning by 59-24.

The stadium will undoubtedly be packed to capacity again in July when Madagascar play host to Uganda, Kenya and Zimbabwe in Division 1A of the Africa Cup, the next stage of RWC2015 qualifying in the region.