Leopards Down Welwitschias

The Welwitschias got their 2014 international campaign off to a disappointing start with a 25-8 defeat against the South African Leopards on Saturday.

The match served as preparation for Namibia’s World Cup qualifiers in Madagascar at the end of June, but Namibia’s local-based players did not give the small crowd of a few hundred people much to cheer about.

The Leopards opened the scoring with a try by fullback Sylvain Mahuza after 22 minutes and when centre Adriaan Engelbrecht touched down and converted three minutes later the visitors were 12-0 ahead.

They did not look back from there as Engelbrecht added another penalty while right wing AD Jacobs dotted down for a converted try just before the break to make the halftime score 22-0.

Namibia attacked with more intent in the second half and wing Johan Tromp opened their account with a penalty on 52 minutes.

Leopards hooker JC Oberholzer converted a penalty on 61 minutes to stretch their lead to 25-3, and Namibia’s cause was not helped much when prop Jaco Swanepoel was sin-binned for repeated infringements in the loose scrum two minutes later.

Namibia however finally broke through for a try with two minutes remaining when prop Johnny Redelinghuys barged over, but it was too little too late as the Leopards held on for a comfortable victory.

National coach Danie Vermeulen was not satisfied with Namibia’s performance.

“I am very disappointed with the result. We worked on a lot of aspects but they were not implemented during the match. We are still far from where we have to be and we made too many unnecessary mistakes,” he said.

The match also served as trials before Vermeulen names the national squad later this week that will go to Madagascar, but he said few players made use of the opportunity to impress him.

“I thought Johan Deysel played well, as did Thomasu Forbes, but no one really impressed and I’d say a lot of reputations got hurt,” he said.

Vermeulen was also not happy with the fitness levels of the players, and said that they would have to work hard in the coming weeks.

“I was not happy at all with the players’ conditioning, and we will have to work very hard over the next few weeks,” he said.

Source : The Namibian