Namibia hit hosts Zimbabwe Sables 58-28 in a fourth round Africa Gold Cup cum 2019 World Cup qualifier on Saturday 4 August at Hartsfield rugby grounds in Bulawayo to stay well on course for a place in yet another World Rugby.
Namibia led 27-7 at half time on their way to the latest bonus point win, the fourth straight in this campaign, which takes them to the 20 point mark with an eight point gap over Kenya and within a game of qualification.
Zimbabwe began the match as a force to reckon with, off a kick-off from Namibia. Their interweaving backline anchored by flyhalf, Brandon Mandivenga proved to be the offensive system the team needed. Undeterred, two and a half minutes into the game, Namibia fuelled the rivalry by logging the first try by Lesley Klim and a successful conversion from Cliven Loubser to lead 7-0. Not to be undermined by their opponents, Zimbabwe fast-tracked their way to Namibia’s five to, score off a maul with a try placed by Matthew McNab and an equally successful conversion by Mandivenga in the eleventh minute upping the scoreline to 7-7.
Despite making technical changes which made an impact to Zimbabwe’s scoring system, the team’s defense began to give way to Namibia as PJ van Lill and Johann Greyling ran past to add more points cementing the team’s lead which, in turn, were converted by Loubser. By half-time, Namibia had won two successful penalties whilst conceding a single penalty to Zimbabwe leaving the score 24-7.
In the second half, Namibia’s Wian Conradie was the first to score with later contributions from Torsten van Jaarsveld, Tjiuee Uaniv and Johan van der Westhuizen. Johan Tromp managed to put in two tries past the Zimbabweans who were left playing a weak defensive as they failed to maintain their ball possession to facilitate an offensive.
Namibia played rugby in its most basic form, completing their passes and maximising on Zimbabwe’s mistakes. Ball at hand, Zimbabwe presented some good runs from Mandivenga and David Makanda however, support in the field of play proved to be in short supply as they lost possession to Namibia. Zimbabwe’s fusion of the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens Cheetahs into the backline paid off as both Tafadzwa Chitokwindo and Shayne Makombe delivered tries for the home crowds.
Phil Davies, Namibia’s Head Coach shared his excitement: “You have to give credit to Peter and the players today, Zimbabwe was fantastic. They played some good rugby with good offloads which put us under more pressure. What we did is we dug deep and we were very clinical when we had to be- and we deserve the victory.”
Zimbabwe Sables captain, Denford Mutamangira also added: “Namibia is a very good side but we also showed some signs of brilliance. Whenever we thought we were back in the game, we conceded and it’s something that we need to work on to make sure we don’t concede soft tries.”
For Zimbabwe the loss was the third straight, the net effect being a positional drop to sixth and last in the standings and the sables are now in grim danger of relegation from the Africa Gold Cup at the close of the campaign on 18 August.
Zimbabwe plays away to Uganda in the final day as Namibia squares off with Kenya for the Rugby Africa Gold Cup at Hage Geingob Stadium in Windhoek.
1.Denford Mutamangira 2.David Makanda 3.Farai Mudariki 4.Brian Nyaude 5.Fortunate Chipendu 6.Takudzwa Mandiwanza 7.Connor Pritchard 8.Tapfuma Parirenyatwa 9.Hilton Mudariki 10.Brandon Mandivenga 11.Tafadzwa Chitokwindo 12.Tafadzwa Mhende 13.Kudzai Mashawi 14.Shayne Makombe 15.Shingirayi Katsvere
16.Mathew Mandioma 17.Irvine Nduwa 18.Lawrence Cleminson 19.Antipas Kamkwindo 20.Lucky Sithole 21.Ernest Mudzengere 22.Lenience Tambwera 23.Matthew McNab
1. Botha, Chrysander 2. Coetzee,Johannes(Aranos) 3. Conradie, Wian 4. De Klerk, AJ 5. De la Harpe, Darryl 6. Deysel,Johan (Captain) 7. Greyling,JC 8. Jantjies,Eugene 9. Katjijeko,Max 10. Kitshoff,Rohan 11. Klim,Lesley 12. Loubser,Cliven 13. Newman, Justin 14. Sethie,Desiderius 15. Steenkamp, PW
16. Stevens,Damian 17. Theron,Nelius 18. Tjeriko,Mahepisa 19. Tromp,Johan 20. Uanivi,Tjiuee 21. Van der Westhuizen,Louis 22. Van Jaarsveld,Torsten 23. Van Lill,Pieter-Jan 24. Venter,Janco 25. Viviers,Casper
Africa Gold Cup Standings as of 4 August 2018
6. Zimbabwe 3
16 June 2018
Zimbabwe 23 Morocco 23
Namibia 55 Uganda 6
23 June 2018
Namibia 118 Tunisia 0
Morocco 24 Kenya 28
30 June 2018
Kenya 45 Zimbabwe 36
Morocco 7 Namibia 63
7 July 2018
Kenya 38 Uganda 22
Tunisia 18 Zimbabwe 14
August 4, 2018
Uganda 67 Tunisia 12
Zimbabwe 28 Namibia 58
Kenya vs Tunisia
Uganda vs Morocco
Uganda vs Zimbabwe
Namibia vs Kenya
Tunisia vs Morocco
Additional reporting by APO group