’A Lot of Work to Do’ – Tjombe

THE manager of the Namibian U20 rugby team, Gabriel Tjombe admitted they had a lot of work to do following a 60-14 defeat against the Western Province U19 Academy in Windhoek on Saturday.

The match was one of two encounters against the Cape side, before the Namibian team leaves for Hong Kong next week to compete in the Junior World Rugby Trophy in Hong Kong.

“We lost big time and it’s clear that our coaches have a lot of work to do. We expected g competition, but I must say it was an eye-opener in terms of the level of competitiveness and what we want to achieve,” he said.

Tjombe said that despite the big defeat, the trip was well worthwhile.

“It was definitely a worthwhile trip. It was not about winning for us, but about finding and testing the right combinations. We only had two training sessions before the match, but now we have a whole week to get ready and to train as a team,” he added.

Namibia suffered a narrow 11-9 defeat against WP in their first encounter on 20 March, but according to Tjombe, the visitors sent two teams and kept their gest team for the Saturday encounter.

In the second encounter, WP dominated from the start with their heavier pack of forwards and explosive backline and took the lead within a minute when scrumhalf Justin Phillips went over for a try converted by flyhalf Ernst Stapelberg.

Stapelberg and Namibian flyhalf Chris Arries traded penalties but another try by Phillips, going blindside from a scrum, put WP 15-3 ahead.

Arries kept Namibia in touch with a second penalty to make the score 15-6, but that’s the closest they got, as WP stepped up the tempo.

Their captain and eighthman Rikus Bothma went over for a try after a great driving maul by the forwards, while centre Heinrich Buhr touched down after a fine run by right wing Daylen Daniels. Just before halftime Arries landed a great penalty from the halfway line to make the score 29-9 at the break.

Namibia came out more determined in the second half and managed to keep WP at bay during the opening stages, but it did not last long, as left wing Leolin Zas scored a great counter-attacking try from within his own half.

With their forwards taking control of the game, Zas added a second try while WP ran in a further three tries through right wing Daylen Daniels, replacement prop Brett Paulse and replacement scrum half Damien Stevens.

Namibia finally managed to breach WP’s defence in the final stages of the match when replacement wing Donovan Kandji went over for an unconverted try.

In the first encounter on 20 March, WP beat Namibia 11-9 after the home side led 9-6 at the break. Namibia’s scorers were Chris Arries with two penalties and Malan Kruger with one.

Namibia suffered several injuries during the two-match series and according to Tjombe the injured players will first be assessed by the team doctor before deciding on their availability for the Junior World Rugby Trophy.

The injured players are props Petri Burger and Quinton Esterhuizen, hooker Desmond Stramis, flanker Immo Dresselhaus and eighthman DG Wiese.

The two encounters formed part of the annual HTS Schools Rugby Festival, which was won by Windhoek Gymnasium, after they beat WHS 13-0 in the final.

Source : The Namibian