Geingob Cup: Griquas beat Welwitschias

Touring squad to Europe announced
Despite the loss in front of their home crowd, the Namibians were provided with valuable game time ahead of their upcoming international commitment.
Andrew Poolman
The visiting Windhoek Draught Griquas neutralised the threat of the Windhoek Draught Welwitschias – a near full-strength Namibian side – to win the inaugural Hage Geingob Cup rugby clash in Windhoek on Saturday.

The South African franchise, runners-up in the Currie Cup this year, lead 19-13 at half-time on their way to winning the match 33-18.

The outing will have provided coach Allister Coetzee and his men with valuable game time and strategic input into the selection and preparation of the 30-member national squad that departed on their tour to Europe yesterday.

The national team will play Spain in Madrid on 12 November, before clashing with Canada a week later in Amsterdam. The Spanish team – who qualified for next year’s World Cup before being found guilty of the use of an ineligible player and kicked out of the tournament – played a home test against Tonga on Saturday, suffering a heavy 40-6 loss.

Early difference

At the Hage Geingob Stadium, with the head of state in attendance and introduced to both playing squads before the kick-off, the Griquas took an early 14-0 lead and never looked back.

Tries after five and 11 minutes by stocky left wing Luther Obi, both converted by their fly half and captain George Whitehead, put the tourists in the driving seat.

The Welwitschias clawed their way back with two Cliven Loubser penalties. But after 34 minutes, Griquas worked their Namibian qualified full back Jay-Cee Nel over for another unconverted try in the left-hand corner to stretch their lead to 19-6.

The first Namibian try came on the stroke of half-time, as lock Adriaan Ludick crashed over near the posts from close range, after initial runs by Damian Stevens, Divan Rossouw and Wian Conradie in the build-up.

However, the Welwitschias were unable to prevent Griquas from adding another try soon after half-time. Nel broke the line from within his own half to release right wing and former Blitsbok star Rosko Specman for the five-pointer, which Whitehead converted (26-13).

The last say

With replacements sent on for both sides, the Namibians worked themselves into range for a strong run by centre Le Roux Malan, from which Conradie burrowed his way over the line for an unconverted try. Malan came on as a replacement during the first half, after Alcino Izaacs was stretchered off with a shoulder injury.

Griquas had the last say with replacement back Ashlon Davids off-loading for replacement loose forward Niel Otto to score near the left-hand corner, from where Whitehad converted.

Griquas full back Nel was named player of the match, walking away with a N$20 000 cheque.