Sables fall to Namibia again

21 Nov, 2021 - 00:11 0 Views
Sables fall to Namibia again

The Sunday Mail

Sports Reporter

Namibia ……………(5) 41

Zimbabwe …………(7) 10

ZIMBABWE’S Sables received a timely reality check on how much work they would have to put in to conquer Africa, when they fell to old nemesis Namibia in the World Rugby Stellenbosch Challenge Cup final at Markotter Stadium in South Africa yesterday.

Despite being put on the back foot for much of the opening half, the Sables took a surprise first half lead courtesy of a Bisele Tshamala try, which Dudley White Sharpley converted.

White Sharply then added a penalty for the Sables early into the second period as Brendan Dawson’s men looked to take the game to their bogey side.

Zimbabwe have not beaten Namibia since 2001 and racing into a 10-5 lead early into the second period is the kind of stuff that would have sent the Sables’ fans into Dreamland.

But just like they did in their semi-final clash against Brazil which they narrowly won 24-22, the Sables fizzled out in the heat of Stellenbosch and not even the water breaks could help them maintain their resistance.

In the end, the Namibian Welwitschias piled on the pressure especially in the last 30 minutes during which they amassed 36 points for a deserved and convincing win.

As Dawson and his men return to the country after their Stellenbosch sojourn, the former Zimbabwe captain and his assistant Liam Middleton will no doubt note they have a lot of work to do before the Sables resume their World Cup bid at the Africa Cup in France next year.

Ironically, Namibia, who were also too strong for Kenya in their Stellenbosch Cup semi-final, will look to stand in the way of the Sables should Dawson’s men overcome Cote d’Ivoire in the quarter-finals.

Although Zimbabwe had held their own for about 50 minutes in yesterday’s game, the Namibians started showing the gulf that exists between the two sides using their strength in set pieces to full advantage.

In one such incident in the 58th minute, they touched down through Lorenzo Louis from a well worked line out.

Namibia also exploited some gaps in the Zimbabwe defence with full back Johan Tromp bursting down the middle literally unattended to touch down while Helarious Kisting made no mistake with his boot to make it 27-10.

The Sables, for whom White Sharpley tried to inspire with his boot, were no match for the Namibian strength on the scrums on a day when Zimbabwe skipper and scrumhalf Hilton Mudariki struggled with his game.

And there was still more time for a brace of tries from Adrian Boysen as Namibia’s dominance over Zimbabwe continued.

In the last meeting between the two sides at Hartsfield in Bulawayo, Namibia ran out 58-28 winners in August 2018 when the Sables were then under the guidance of Peter De Villiers with Dawson an assistant to the South African coach.

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