World Cup campaign gains momentum

Maties beaten in warm-up clash
The Namibians took the opportunity to build their structured play against the 2022 Varsity Cup runner-up team.
Andrew Poolman
Namibia’s mission to whip its best combination into shape in time for Rugby Africa’s upcoming World Cup qualifying tournament seems to be on course, as the training squad ran out 36-19 winners in their friendly match against the University of Stellenbosch on Friday night.

Alignment has been a key word for head coach Allister Coetzee, who has had very little time available to gather his full squad playing in leagues in Namibia, South Africa, the USA, France and other European countries.

On Friday night, the Namibians selected two separate squads for each of the halves of their warm-up match against Maties. The student side started off well, scoring twice to lead 12-0, before the Namibians recovered to lead 14-12 at half time.

Hooker Wikus Jacobs and wing Chad Plato rounded off tries which were both converted by fly half PW Steenkamp.

Breaking down resistance

The side, captained by centre Johan Deysel, continued systematically breaking down the Maties resistance through tries by number-eight Adriaan Booysen, scrum half Damian Stevens, wing Gerswin Mouton and flank Thomasau Forbes, with Steenkamp adding one more conversion.

“We had a slow start, but we also haven’t played together for some time. The guys showed some good fighting spirit before half time and that momentum was carried on by the team for the second half,” Deysel said afterwards.

“I think we can feel quite satisfied with our first match. We will just continue building from here and our teamwork will improve with time. Our next match is Italy A this coming weekend. We will prepare this week to take them on.

“Maties is a good team, full of young and fit players. I’m happy that they tested both our forwards and backs – in the same way the African teams will be doing at the qualifiers" to be held in France from 1 to 10 July.

Coetzee is expected to name his 28 players for the tour to France next week.