Namibia retained the Rugby Africa Gold Cup Championship, their first in this new format, when they beat an inform Kenyan side 45 – 07, in Windhoek on Saturday.
It was the Kenyan’s who started off well, their big forwards led by talismanic number 8 Joshua Chisanga, stamping their authority on the game with big carries in the middle of the park but despite their endeavour in the first 6 minutes, it was Namibia who scored first in their very first visit into Kenya’s 22.
A botched Kenyan lineout gave the hosts the feed at scrum time, which Namibia totally dominated. With referee, Egon Seconds playing advantage for Kenyan front rankers standing up in the scrum, halfback Damian Stevens shipped the ball to his flyhalf Cliven Loubser who kicked a well weighted grubber for the sprinting winger David Philander to dive on.
Loubser converted to make it 7 – 0 after 7 minutes.
After the restart it was once again Kenya who were dominating possession but just failing to find that special pass that would unlock the Namibian defence. In the 18th minute after a sustained period of Kenyan pressure, Namibia regained control of the ball.
A loose kick by Kenyan fullback, Tony Onyango handed them possession which Loubser ran back with intend and at the recycle some swift passing saw fullback Chrysander Botha go over in the corner for a converted try.
As had been the pattern in this first half, Kenya came back strongly after the restart, playing most of the rugby. Often though, they weren’t earning the right to go wide and by the time the ball reached the wings, a Namibian defender would pretty much still be set, thus easily dealing with outside play.
With 6 minutes to go in the half, the pressure was forcing Namibia to infringe and Seconds, (a former Super Rugby player with the Stormers now a referee), awarded the visitors several penalties, giving them plenty of opportunities to go for points. They however elected to go for touch 3 times with no return.
Even when Namibia was a man down for a repeated infringements offense, Kenya could not penetrate their defence.
The Simbas would go into the shed scoreless, with the halftime score at 14 – 0
It was the Namibians who started the 2nd half well scoring within 3 minutes of the restart.
After some nice phase build up by the forwards, number 8 Wian Conradie offloaded beautifully to release centre JC Greyling who sped for the line but was brought down just short of the 5 metre line by Kenya’s scrambling defence. The ball was then recycled and Loubser scored in the corner.
He failed to convert his try, leaving the scores at 19-0
Kenya continued to keep the ball and build phases but Namibia’s line speed was putting their ball players under pressure. With about half an hour to go, the pressure forced an inaccurate pass which handed Greyling a gift. The speedy centre raced half the field to score under the posts. Loubser converted
Namibia 26 – 0 Kenya
Kenya then went on the scoreboard for the first time in the 53rd minute.
Seconds awarded Kenya a penalty and scrumhalf Samson Onsomu took a quick tap, and just like they had done with tremendous success in Bulawayo the previous week, the forwards started to pick and go. As they inched closer to the line, loosehead prop Moses Amusala picked up and carried strongly, crashing over underneath the posts for a converted try that left the scores at 26 – 07.
The Simbas failed to gather the restart which handed the hosts possession. After some nice build up from the Namibians, Greyling passed the ball back inside against the grain to find the nifty and willing Philander, who went over for his second of the match.
Loubser stepped up and made it 31 – 7
The impressive Philander missed an opportunity to score a hatrick when he won a foot race against Kenyan backs after he had hacked the ball forward. He seemed to not be aware of his surroundings; for when he re-gathered 2 metres outside the try box, he opted to attempt a pass to his supporting runners rather than fall over for the try. The pass was intercepted and danger averted for the Kenyans.
The visitors’ set piece was now struggling with Chisanga and other leading forwards off. Namibia was pushing them over in the scrums and not allowing them to set up a platform for any meaningful attack. Their lineout had also stopped functioning.
With 9 minutes to go, Namibia launched an attack that led to loose head prop Casper Viviers scoring on the near post.
Loubser converted. 38 – 07
As the game naturally got looser, lively replacement winger Lesley Klim pounced on a Kenyan handling mistake to race away for the score that sealed the game.
Loubser once again converted leaving the final score at 45 – 07
Indeed Namibia asserted their authority as Africa’s top team behind the Springboks.
After the game their coach, Welshman Phil Davies said he was proud of the way his team had convincingly dispatched an inform Kenyan side.
‘‘This years tournament has been a great showcase for African rugby and showing the world that there is plenty talent on the continent’’ said Davies.
Man of the match : David Philander
1. Casper Viviers, 2. Louis van der Westhuizen, 3. Aranos Coetzee, 4. Mahepisa Tjeriko, 5. Ruan Ludick, 6. Rohan Kitshoff (captain), 7. Janco Venter, 8. Wian Conradie, 9. Damian Stevens, 10. Cliven Loubser, 11. David Philander, 12. JC Greyling, 13. Justin Newman, 14. Johann Tromp, 15. Chrysander Botha,
Replacements: 16. Obert Nortje, 17. Collen Smith, 18. AJ de Klerk, 19. Max Katjijeko, 20. Christo van der Merwe, 21. Eugene Jantjies, 22. Theuns Kotze, 23. Lesley Klim
1. Moses Amusala, 2. Peter Karia, 3. Curtis Lilako, 4. Wilson Kopondo, 5. Simon Muniafu, 6. Eric Kerre, 7. Davis Chenge, 8. Joshua Chisanga, 9. Samson Onsomu, 10. Isaac Adimo, 11. Jacob Ojee, 12. Leo Seje, 13. David Ambunya, 14. Darwin Mukidza, 15. Tony Onyango.
Replacements 16. Philip Ikambili, 17. Oscar Simiyu, 18. Bramwell Mayaka, 19. George Nyambua, 20. Martin Owila, 21. Lyle Asiligwa, 22. Kenny Andola, 23. Dennis Muhanji
Credit : Kyros Sports
Photo credit : Namibia Rugby Union