Cape Town - Namibia produced one of their best
performances in years despite losing 17-13 to Canada at Eirias Parc, Colwyn Bay
in Northern Wales on Friday evening.
The match was Namibia’s first on their Northern Hemisphere tour.
Led by Saracens loose forward
Jacques Burger, the Namibians started very well but let themselves down by
conceding early penalties.
Canada took the lead as early as the sixth minute
through scrumhalf Gordon McRorie after the Namibians were judged offside by
South African referee Stuart Berry.
Three minutes later the Namibians suffered
a major setback when their England-based fullback Chrysander Botha was
stretchered off and taken to hospital with a broken left leg.
After a delay of
almost nine minutes during which Botha received treatment, Namibia conceded a
second penalty, this time it was loose forward Rohan Kitshoff penalised
for not releasing the ball. McRorie stepped up and made it 6-0 to Canada.
It took Namibia 25 minutes to
get on the board, flyhalf Theuns Kotze slotted a 25m penalty after Canada
were caught slowing down the ball.
Ten minutes before the break Canada extended
their lead, Namibia again guilty of a transgression at the breakdown.
McRorie was on target to make it 9-3.
Kotzé then responded immediately with his
second penalty of the evening.
With the score at 9-6 the match was evenly
poised but just before half-time the momentum swung in the Canadians favour
when Berry gave Kitshoff a yellow card for a dangerous tackle.
The Namibians did
well to hang on despite their numerical disadvantage and the sides changed ends
with Canada leading 9-6.
Canada started well and with Namibia
still a player short, extended their lead to 12-6 through a fourth penalty from
McRorie just minutes into the second half.
Kotzé then missed an easy chance to
close the gap to three points again.
It was a costly mistake as Canada opened
up an 11 point lead after loose forward Nanyak Dala went over in the corner for
his side’s only try of the match.
The remaining 25 minutes of the second half
were dominated by the Namibians who held the upper hand in the set phases.
Brive’s Tjiuee Uanive, only in his second Test match, was superb in the
lineouts and showed that he has a bright future in international rugby while
the front row of veteran Johnnie Redelinghuys, newcomer Torsten van Jaarsveld
and tighthead André Schlechter had the ascendency in the scrums. Namibia won
the physical battle and grew in confidence as the match entered its final
While superb in defence Namibia also
battled to breach the Canadian defence and it was only in the last 10 minutes
that the North American side started looking vulnerable.
With five minutes
remaining captain Jacques Burger scored after a well executed lineout drive.
Kotzé slotted the conversion which gave Namibia a chance of pulling off a win
against a side ranked higher than they are on the IRB rankings. A last minute
attack almost resulted in what would have been a match winning try but the
final pass went astray.
Namibian coach Danie Vermeulen
struggled to hide his disappointment.
“I think there was nothing wrong with
the effort from the boys, a few unforced errors, maybe a few wrong decisions by
us, here and there a player lacking a bit of experience, and I think that cost
us the game,” said Vermeulen.
Burger who played his first Test
match for Namibia since September 2011 echoed the sentiments of his coach.
am proud of the boys, they showed a lot of heart. We didn’t have a lot of time
together, we made a lot of mistakes especially our discipline but there’s a lot
to take from this match and we can really look forward to a positive future,”
said Burger who will not travel to France with the team on Saturday as he will be
returning to Saracens.
Namibia’s next match is Friday, November 14 in Toulon against the French Barbarians.
Try: Nanyak Dala
Penalties: Gordon McRorie (4)
Conversion: Theuns Kotzé
Penalties: Kotzé (2)