Namibia Suffers Heavy Defeats

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By Kuvee Kangueehi WINDHOEK The Namibia Sevens Rugby team suffered three losses in Pool A of the Commonwealth Games competition underway in Melbourne, Australia. Namibia which is in Pool A lost to favourites and defending champions New Zealand, and Kenya and Wales. New Zealand beat Namibia 31-5 and the Namibians are now bottom of their group and will not make it to the second round. New Zealand had a brief scare against a Welsh team that scored two quick tries after half time to draw level, doubtless buoyed by a rendition of Tom Jones’ “Delilah” over the public address system. But the Kiwis tightened up and scored two great tries through impressive newcomer Corey Jane, with veteran Amasio Valence running things smoothly in midfield and adding four conversions in the 35-10 win. Tonga produced the only surprise in the opening 12 matches of the Commonwealth Games rugby union sevens competition in Melbourne on Thursday, beating medal contenders South Africa 26-19. The hard-tackling South Pacific islanders fully deserved their Pool D win at the Telstra Dome, where the roof was closed, and were led superbly by inspirational captain Tevita Tu’ifua. The former Auckland winger scored a hat-trick of tries as South Africa, bronze medallists in the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, failed to gain any meaningful territorial advantage and suffered at the breakdown. The South Africans will now have their work cut out in a pool that also includes Samoa, easy 31-10 winners over Uganda. Fellow tournament heavyweights Fiji, New Zealand and England all progressed smoothly against some largely inferior opposition, while hosts Australia shone in their one encounter against a woeful Sri Lankan side. Fiji beat Canada 31-14 in their opening Pool B match, the scoreline flattering the Canucks, who never looked like really threatening a Waiseve Serevi-led Fijian team that could afford to leave the maestro’s outstanding apprentice William Ryder on the bench. The Fijians also racked up a 63-0 score against Niue, whose team is picked from just 200 senior rugby players from a total island population of 2,000.In the same group, Canada did well to hold off Scotland, 33-5 victors over Niue, winning 10-7 and scuppering the Scots’ realistic chances of a medal quarter-final spot. In Pool C England scored a psychological blow over bitter rivals Australia in the rugby sevens with a 14-12 group win. England topped their group after three straight victories and face Samoa in Friday’s quarter-finals. Australia who qualified in second meet South Africa. Wales came second in their group to New Zealand and play Fiji in the quarters, but Scotland are out after losing two of their three group matches. Favourites New Zealand take on Canada in the other quarterfinal. Australia dominated the early exchanges of the battle with England, Chris Latham opening the scoring after Tom Varndell failed to latch on to a speculative cross-kick. Aussie winger Brendan Williams was sin-binned for abusing the referee, but England struggled to force home the advantage in the first half. Henry Paul had a great chance on the stroke of half-time, but spilled a low Mathew Tait pass. Latham then produced two try-saving tackles on Tait and Varndell early in the second-half. But he could not prevent England captain Simon Amor powering through for a well-worked try. With the score tied at 7-7 and Australia’s Damon Murphy yellow-carded for not rolling away at a ruck, England upped the pressure and Varndell motored past Williams with ease for a try. Australia’s Cameron Shepherd hit back with a late try, but Williams’ conversion fell short to give England the win. – Additional reporting various websites

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