Windhoek - Golden Lions No 8 Ruaan Lerm was deservedly named
man-of-the-match for his hat-trick of tries during his side’s 53-3 win over
Namibia’s Welwitschias in the Hage Geingob Stadium in Windhoek on Friday night,
the supersport.com website reports.
The Lions, last year’s beaten finalists, opened their 2015
campaign with a convincing win over the Namibians who are returning to the
Vodacom Cup in a bid to prepare their locally based club players to a higher
level of competition ahead of the World Cup starting in September.
Scrumhalf Ricky Schroeder’s visitors ran in five unopposed
tries to take a 34-3 lead at halftime.
The Lions’ forwards were dominant and used attacking lineouts
from penalty kicks as a platform for seven out of their eventual eight tries.
The Welwitschias, coached by former Bulls and Pumas hooker
Henry Kemp, lost the penalty count 15 to 9. Their infringements on the ground
or offside play made thing pretty easy for the Gauteng team to set up the
lineouts as a platform for driving mauls or bullocking runners.
As the Lions played with less intensity in the second half,
the home team gradually picked up more confidence and performed slightly better
on defence and attack.
A tough battle was to be expected as Namibia aims to use the
Vodacom Cup to broaden its base of local amateurs ahead of the World Cup in
Kemp’s starting 15 ended up containing not a single
combination (front row, locks, loosies, halfbacks, centres or back three) that
has ever played together at any level before. Moreover, they did not play any
warm-up matches in the pre-season.
His starting flyhalf Henrique Olivier, fresh from completing
his matric at Windhoek Gymnasium last year, missed two penalty attempts from
long range, before left wing Johann Tromp took over, succeeding with one easier
penalty before a second deflected away from the upright.
The Namibians lost their captain, Darryl de la Harpe, midway
through the second half due to a groin strain. The centre appeared hopeful that
he could be back to face the Pumas next weekend. Tighthead prop Andries
Rousseau (knee) also left the field on a stretcher after 24 minutes and was
replaced by Jaco Engels.
An enthusiastic crowd of about 3 000 turned up to support
the home team, despite light rainfall for most of the match.
“We drew energy from the vibe of the crowd, which was bigger
than we get at some other venues in this competition,” Lions captain Ricky
Schroeder remarked afterwards.
Tries: Ruaan Lerm (3), Steph de Witt (2),
Bobby de Wee (2) and Alwyn Hollenbach
Conversions: Ashlon Davids (3), Damian Engledoe (2)
Penalty: Davids (1)
Penalty: Johann Tromp