Windhoek-The embarrassing defeat of Namibia’s rugby second strings, the Windhoek Draught Welwitschias, at the hands of under-strength Xerox Golden Lions at the Alberton Rugby Club stadium in the Supersport Rugby Challenge, in Johannesburg, South Africa has left local rugby officials fuming.
The clearly out-of-sorts Namibian amateurs shipped in seven unanswered first-half tries to go down 112-14, after having fallen behind 49-0 going into the changeover.
The defeat left the hapless Namibians without victory in the South African Provincial Rugby tournament after three rounds of matches, which came close on the heels of losses against the Falcons and Vodacom Blue Bulls at home and away. Well-known local rugby critic Corrie Mensah did not mince his words to describe the Welwtschias’ lukewarm performance, which he considered “embarrassing” and “a disgrace” to the sport and the entire Namibian nation.
The former Federation flank is calling for drastic changes within the coaching department, saying Namibian rugby is evidently on a dangerous and slippery slope.
“The scoreboard says it all. This is our biggest defeat in the history of provincial rugby and if this is the true reflection of our strengths, then I’m inclined to conclude that we are in serious problems.”
Mensah is adamant that the team lacked direction, motivation and was hopelessly unfit to compete at that level. “This team was exposed to high performance training for six solid months, but the performance on the field of play leaves a lot to be desired,” he opined.
“If we take a thorough look at the performance of our Barbarian side, they performed far better than their supposedly superior Currie Cup side. The “cricket figured” defeat against the Lions is unacceptable and is a crystal clear demonstration that the game of rugby in Namibia is going backwards,” charged an irate Mensah.
In his parting shot, the Western Suburbs Rugby Club strongman called for a thorough skills audit within the coaching staff, with drastic changes to be effected if need be. In Saturday’s humiliating defeat, the hosts visited the whitewash on five occasions in the opening quarter of the match, with Shaun Reynolds dispatching seven conversions, whilst also dotting down for a five-pointer. Substitute back Siya Masuku also registered his name on the scoreboard from five goal conversions. The visitors were outscored by 15 tries to two. A lacklustre defense from the Namibians saw the hosts capitalise on the huge gaps left by the visitors.
Reynolds’ form with the boot inspired the Lions backs to run with ease and ensure possession was converted into points. With the damage already done in the opening 40 minutes, the Lions eased their foot off the gas in the second half, with a host of replacements making their appearances.