Namibia to face All Blacks

2014-07-06 19:01
RWC 2015 (Getty Images)

Antananarivo - Namibia have qualified for a fifth consecutive Rugby World Cup after crushing African qualifying tournament hosts Madagascar 89-10 in Antananarivo on Sunday.

The 'Beef Farmers' go into Pool C with their opening match of the 2015 tournament against defending champions the New Zealand All Blacks at the London Olympic Stadium.

Namibia will also face Tonga, Georgia and Argentina in the first round of the September 18-October 31 tournament with the pool winners and runners-up advancing to the quarter-finals.

Second-place Zimbabwe face an early August journey to Siberian city Krasnoyarsk for a repechage semi-final against Russia with the winners facing Uruguay or Hong Kong for a World Cup place.

Namibia (plus 76 points), Zimbabwe (plus 49) and Kenya (plus 23) finished the qualifying tournament with 10 points each while Madagascar ended pointless.

Zimbabwe overcame Kenya 28-10 in the first half of a double-header with Johannesburg-based fly-half Guy Cronje scoring 18 points.

"We were under extreme pressure to succeed because people back home expected us to qualify," admitted Namibia coach Danie Vermeulen.

Loose forward and skipper PJ van Lill added: "Playing at the World Cup means a big step-up for the boys so good preparations are going to be vital."

Needing a 53-point, bonus-point victory in the final match of the four-nation mini-league to overtake Zimbabwe, the Namibians ran in 13 tries with fly-half Theuns Kotze converting all but one.

South Africa-based No. 8 Renaldo Bothma scored the first try after 13 minutes at a chilly and windy Stade Mahamasina in the Malagasy capital.

That was the signal for the floodgates to open as the Namibians ran riot against far lighter and shorter opponents on a dry, hard pitch.

By half-time Namibia had amassed 56 unanswered points from eight converted tries and after Madagascar scored their lone try, the procession toward the losers' try-line resumed.

Bothma (4), right-wing David Philander (2), full-back Chrystander Botha, flank Rohan Kitshoff, prop Jaco Engels, centre Heinrich Smit and left-wing Johan Tromp scored Namibian tries.

The Argentine referee also awarded the winners two penalty tries after collapsed scrums and the post robbed Kotze of a perfect conversions record.

Madagascar skipper and fly-half Jose Rakoto Harison slotted a penalty and converted a try by replacement Tolotriniaina Rakotoson.

Cronje scored a try and kicked two conversions and three penalties for Zimbabwe, who competed at the first World Cup in 1987 and the second edition four years later.

A try each from centre Riaan O'Neill and scrum-half Hilton Mudariki completed the scoring for a side that led 13-10 at half-time and dominated the second half.

Kenya fly-half Lavin Asego potted a penalty and converted a superb try by centre Humphrey Kayange.

Read more on:    rwc 2015  |  rugby

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