Uruguay Dash Namibian Hopes

NAMIBIA’s hopes of winning the Junior World Rugby Trophy in Hong Kong came to an end on Tuesday when they suffered a narrow 16-13 defeat to Uruguay.

With Japan beating Canada 37-12 in Tuesday’s other Group B match, Japan finished on top of Group B on 12 points and will now meet Tonga in Saturday’s final for a place at next year’s Junior World Cup.

Namibia’s defeat saw them finishing third in Group B on seven points and they will now play out for fifth position against Georgia on Saturday. Uruguay, who finished second in Group B on 10 points, will take on the United States in the third place play-off.

In what was described as the match of the tournament on the IRB’s website, there was very little to choose between Namibia and Uruguay from the start.

The opposing flyhalves, Chris Arries of Namibia and Manuel Blengio of Uruguay exchanged early penalties and with each adding one more, the teams were tied at 6-6 after 30 minutes.

Namibia were reduced to 14 men when centre Handre Bezuidenhout was sin-binned for ten minutes and Uruguay made their aantage count when Blengio added another penalty to give them a 9-6 lead at halftime.

Chances were few and far between in the second half as the forwards battled it out for possession, but Arries came agonisingly close to levelling the score when a penalty attempt hit the post with 12 minutes remaining.

Uruguay struck back two minutes later when hooker German Kessler scored the first try of the match and with Blengio adding the conversion they went 16-6 ahead.

Namibia’s challenge was not over though, as eighthman Wian Conradie crashed over for a converted try with five minutes to go to reduce the deficit to 16-13.

Namibia threw everything into the attack in the final stages but they could not breach Uruguay’s defence and the South Americans held on for the victory.

In Group A matches on Tuesday, Tonga beat the United States 28-22, while Georgia beat Hong Kong 21-8.

Source : The Namibian