Welwitschias Crush Kenya

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By Kuvee Kangueehi WINDHOEK The new blend of youth and experience of the Namibia national rugby squad seems to be the perfect mixture following Saturday’s victory of 84 -12 at the Hage Geingob Stadium on Saturday. The Namibian coach Johan Venter had it spot on as the hosts comfortably recorded their first victory in the International Rugby Board (IRB) 2007 World Cup qualifier. Namibia, who were the favourites before the ball was kicked off, started off strongly and made their intentions clear as early as the opening minutes when the speedy Deon van der Berg opened Namibia’s scoring account with a well taken try which had most of the fans on their feet. One of Namibia’s senior players in the squad Morne Schreuder calmed the nerves of the home fans when he extended Namibia’s lead by a further three points with a well-taken conversion. Van der Berg who was starting to enjoy the somewhat chilly Saturday afternoon became a real thorn in the Kenya defence and once again unlocked the speedy Kenyan defence to record his second try, while Schreuder reminded the hundreds of rugby fans of South African rugby legend Naas Botha with his second successful conversion which put Namibia in the driving seat at 14 – 0. The match soon become a one sided affair as the pacey Melric Africa shattered the Kenyan defence to register Namibia’s third try and with a well-calculated conversion the score-line extended to 21-0. Known as the ‘ Welwitschias’ Namibia recorded two more tries and the score was 35-0 at the changeover. Although Namibia was not at full strength, missing experienced players such as flanker Schalk van der Merwe, lock Jassie Genis and backs Elrich Jansen and Jurie Booysen, they were still a formidable side. . Though Namibia missed a penalty in the second stanza, that did not stop them from extending the score on the scoreboard with few more tries taken to their credit. Putting their names on the score-sheet were Africa, Sean Furter, Herman Lintvelt, Heini Bock, JM Meyer and Roger Thompson The visitors had a bit of luck on their side when they registered their first and second tries through Dan Weku and teammate Oscar Osir to bring the final scoreline to 84-12. The evidently excited national coach, Johan Venter, in an interview after the match expressed his satisfaction with the players’ performances. He said the road ahead is long, adding that he was marvelled by what he termed exciting and entertaining performances but did not rule out that Kenya could be a tough nut to crack in their backyard come August. “I must congratulate the Kenyan side for a clean match they played,” he said. Added Venter: “It was long coming and we owe it to the Namibian people. We have 28 players in South Africa but the local players will enjoy first priority.” Rugby fans can look forward to an exciting encounter when Namibia engages Tunisia in Windhoek next month. The Namibian team was led by star prop Kees Lensing, and except for the small setback which saw a late replacement of Michael Mckenzie coming in at flank for Jacques Burger, who did not arrive in time from his professional team, Griquas, it was a good week for Nami-bian rugby. The 22-man Namibian squad for the Kenya game was as follows: Forwards: Kees Lensing (captain), Deon van der Berg, Fana Lambert, J.M. Meyer, Cor van Tonder, Mbaroro Kazombiaze, Heino Senekal, Tommie Gouws, Michael McKenzie, Herman Lintvelt, Sean Furter and Jacques Burger. Backs: Eugene Jantjies, Jurie van Tonder, MornÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚© Schreuder, Melrick Africa, CornÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚© Powell, Roger Thompson, Du Preez Grobler, Ryan Witbooi, Fanie Pienaar and Heini Bock. – Additional reporting Nampa and Namibia Sport

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