Namibia stumble against Spain in Nations Cup opener


Otniel Hembapu

Windhoek-Namibia’s senior rugby team, the Welwitschias (and not the second-stringers Windhoek Draught Welwitschias who are currently partaking in the Currie Cup) on Saturday suffered a narrow 13-15 defeat against Spain during their 2017 Nations Cup Pool A clash in Montevideo, Uruguay.

With only one place apart on the world rugby rankings at 18th and 19th, higher ranked Spain were deserving winners, despite the small margin, in a tough encounter in the Uruguayan capital.

The first half did not have much to offer, only the exchange of penalties between Bradley Linklater and Theuns Kotze. All that was missing in the opening 40 minutes were present in the second half as both teams were more positive in their approach.

Namibia scored the first try of the tournament in the 49th minute when Chrysander Botha dived on a neat kick by centre Johan Deysel after some excellent play, Kotze adding the conversion.

Spain were quick to reply and from a lineout replacement Lionel Tauli drove the ball to the try-line but Linklater’s conversion bounced off the upright.

Kotze kicked a penalty in the 60th minute but, again, Spain took no time in replying, with Tauli again scoring after quick thinking from flanker Gautier Gibouin Fontana. Linklater managed the conversion this time, which in the end was the two points that separated the teams.

Spain will remain 18th in the latest world rugby rankings that will officially be released today but Namibia will slip one place to 20th with Russia being the beneficiaries. Namibia will next face Italy on Wednesday.
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