Welwitschias Realise Primary Objective

DESPITE not making much headway in this season’s Vodacom Cup, the Welwitschias gained invaluable game time and experience according to captain Jaco Engels.

The Welwitschias’ Vodacom Cup campaign ended with a narrow 25-33 defeat to the Leopards XV at the Hage Geingob Stadium on Friday night.

It was the home side’s sixth loss in the provincial rugby competition this season, which meant they finished second-last in the eight-team north section.

Engels, one of the few seasoned campaigners in the side, believes the tournament did the Welwitschias the world of good.

The Welwitschias used the tournament to blood several promising youngsters who are earmarked to play a role in Namibia’s upcoming 2015 IRB Rugby World Cup aenture in England.

“The team is full of lots of young players. They are fast learners. I think playing in this tournament was a good learning curve for them. They gained valuable experience which they will need for future games,” he said.

“We have improved a lot since the first couple of matches [of the competition]. You can see from the way the guys played after that and some of the scores that were close,” he added.

Following his storming performance against the Leopards, man of the match and vice-captain Shaun Kaizemi echoed his skipper’s sentiments.

The fly half dominated the scoreboard for the home team, but it was not enough to prevent the men from Potchefstroom from securing the all-important fourth spot on the log.

“I think we gave our best. We really tried but in the end the result didn’t go our way. They [Leopards] were tough and well organised but I think we showed in the second half that we can also compete,” Kaizemi said.

QUARTER-FINALS

The Xerox Lions and DHL Western Province finished the league phase of the Vodacom Cup unbeaten and will host the quarter-finals next week, along with the Vodacom Blue Bulls and GWK Griquas.

The four teams that will have to travel for their quarter-finals, are the Steval Pumas, Leopards XV, Toyota Free State XV and SWD Eagles.

With seven of the eight quarter-finalists determined before the last round of matches kicked off, the Leopards XV did what was needed by securing a 33-25 bonus-point victory over the FNB Welwitschias in Windhoek to book their place in the top eight.

In the other two North Section matches, the Xerox Golden Lions were too g for the Down Touch Griffons in Welkom (36-20) and the Hino Valke edged the Assupol Limpopo Blue Bulls in Polokwane (38-27).

In the South Section, the EP Kings beat the Cell C Sharks XV in Port Elizabeth (23-8), DHL Western Province clinched victory against the SWD Eagles in Cape Town (27-19) and the Border Bulldogs got their first win of the season against the Boland Cavaliers in Alice (29-5).

But the match of the weekend was probably the encounter between the Toyota Free State XV and GWK Griquas in Kimberley, where 14 points were scored in the final 10 minutes and the home team clinched a 19-18 win thanks to a penalty goal in injury time. -Additional reporting sarugby.net

Source : The Namibian