Poor kicking deny Sables win

WINDHOEK - Namibia scraped home with a 37-33 victory against Zimbabwe in the opening match of the Windhoek Lager Tri-Nations Rugby Tournament on Saturday.

After leading 16-15 at halftime, Namibia surged into a 34-18 lead, but a strong fightback by the Sables saw the home side eventually winning by only four points.

Had Zimbabwe’s goalkicking been better, they could well have won the match.

Namibia scored four tries, four penalties, one drop goal and one conversion, while Zimbabwe scored four tries, one conversion, two penalties and one penalty try.

After two penalties by Theuns Kotze and one by Tichafara Makwanya, Namibian flanker Renaud van Neel scored the first try after he went over from a fine driving maul by the Namibian forwards.

Namibia stretched their lead to 16-3 after Chrysander Botha touched down in the corner, after being put in space from a fine skip pass by Theuns Kotze.

Botha continued to threaten with a great run that and kick ahead but Zimbabwe wing Wes Mbanje just managed to dot down ahead of Justin Nel.

Zimbabwean flyhalf Makwanya scored the visitors’ first try when he broke through a tackle and ran 30m to dot down, but he missed a simple conversion, to make the score 16-8.

Just before halftime Zimbabwe got a penalty try after a scrum infringement on Namibia’s tryline and with Makwanya adding the conversion, Namibia held a narrow 16-15 lead going into the break.

Namibia attacked from the restart and debutant winger Johan Tromp went over for a try in the corner after being put clear by Darryl de la Harpe. Kotze’s fine conversion from the touchline put Namibia 23-15 ahead.

Makwanya and Kotze traded penalties and then Namibian prop Johnny Redelinghuys went over in the corner after a fine attack involving Darryl de la Harpe and Tromp.

Namibia’s forwards maintained the pressure and when Kotze added a fine drop goal to make it 34-18 it seemed as if Namibia would easily win the match.

But lapses in concentration allowed Zimbabwe back into the match, as two unconverted tries in quick succession by fullback Tangai Nemadire and flanker Lucky Sithole made the score 34-28.

Theuns Kotze added a penalty but Nemadire scored his second try after a pass by Mbanje to make the final score 37-33.

The next match in the Windhoek Lager Tri-Nations series will take place on Wednesday night when Zimbabwe take on Spain. — Namibiasport

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