Namibia Shock Canada

NAMIBIA produced the first major upset of the Junior World Rugby Trophy in Hong Kong on Monday when they beat the second seeded Canada 37-25, after leading 20-15 at halftime.

Namibia scored four tries with flyhalf Chris Arries adding 17 points with the boot to go to the top of Pool B on points difference, ahead of Uruguay who beat Japan in their opening encounter yesterday.

In Pool A, the United States took an early lead with a 37-0 victory against the hosts Hong Kong, while Georgia beat Tonga 34-10.

Canada are the top seeds in Pool B and were heavily favoured to reach the final after they did so last year, before eventually losing to Italy.

Canada took a 7-0 lead against Namibia with a converted try, but after Arries opened Namibia’s account with a penalty, Namibia took the lead for the first time through a converted try by scrumhalf JC Winkler.

Namibia kept up the pressure and a converted try by eighthman Wian Conradie suddenly put them 17-7 ahead.

Canada reduced the deficit with a try and a penalty but another Arries penalty gave Namibia a 20-15 lead at halftime.

A try by wing Reinold Benade, once again converted by Arries put Namibia 27-15 ahead early in the second half, but Canada reduced the deficit to 27-22 after a converted try by eighthman Matt Mullins.

Arries and Canada’s flyhalf traded penalties before an opportunistic try by replacement centre Ascher Coetzee in the final minute of the match sealed a dramatic victory for Namibia.

It was a great start to the tournament for Namibia, who’s next match is against Japan on Friday, while their final pool match is against Uruguay on Monday, 15 April.

The playoff matches take place on Saturday, 19 April and only the overall winner of the tournament will be promoted to the Junior Rugby World Cup.

Before the tournament began, Namibian coach Jan Dames told irb.com that he was positive that his team would do well at the tournament.

“Many of our Under 18 players go to South African universities to study. The players who stay in Namibia fall in with the national squad for practice and development,” he explained. “From our present Under 20 squad, flanker Janco Venter, fly half Chris Arries and prop Louis van der Westhuizen all represented the Namibia national team last year. We also have 11 players from last year’s team playing,” he added.

Namibian captain Awie Thompson said he was relishing the opportunity to play at the Junior World Rugby Trophy and insists his team will never give up as they bid to better their eighth place finish of 2013.

“We are excited to be here. I haven’t played in a JWRT so it is a great chance to see some very skilful and professional rugby at our age grade. I think it is a big opportunity for Namibia to show our strength on the world stage,” said Thompson, who played for Namibia in their RWC 2015 qualifiers against Senegal and Tunisia last year.

“We call ourselves the Biltong Boertjies, which reflects our attitude as a team to never give up, never say die. We are all very committed to performing well this week in Hong Kong.”

Source : The Namibian