Windhoek-The University of Namibia (UNAM) Rugby Club were crowned 2017 Namibia Rugby Union (NRU Premier League champions courtesy of a hard fought 42-28 win over eternal rivals Wanderers at the Hage Geingob Rugby Stadium in Windhoek, on Saturday.
UNAM have now successfully defended their title for three successive seasons to earn the tag of undisputed Namibian champions silencing the Doubting Thomasses for good with another near faultless display.
The match started off on a high tempo, with four tries scored in the first 16 minutes – three by UNAM and one by Wanderers.
UNAM scored their first try in the opening five minutes of the match through fly half Hilarius Kisting, who converted his own try to make it 7-0.
Four minutes later, man of the match Thomas Kali added the second try for the fired up students with utility fullback Jingly Louis stepping up to covert the try effortlessly.
Barry Grande then put his name onto the try scorers’ sheet in the 11th minute when he finished of a flowing move involving Captain Fantastic Bradley Klazen, Cameron Klassen, Milaan van Wyk and Camlo Martin – goaled by Louis.
The White Stallions upped their tempo using their back row players effectively and were duly awarded with a try through Enim Kritzinger in the 16th minute. Gerald Lotter scored a second try for the Pionierspark outfit, before Martin scored another try for UNAM. Both Wanderers’ tries were converted.
UNAM also managed six more points through two penalties to take a healthy lead (34-14) at halftime. The 2nd half belonged to Wanderers, as the White Stallions outscored the students by two tries to one, with Luis replying through a well-taken penalty kick for Johan Diergaardt’s charges.
In total, UNAM scored five tries, with four of them converted while scoring three penalties. Wanderers scored four tries, converting four from the same number of attempts.
A delighted UNAM mentor Johan Diergaardt, was pleased with his side’s start, as he believes the opening 16 minutes won the match.
“Wanderers could not come back after that start because we worked very hard on our attitude and game plan. We had to run them down as we knew they are heavier than us,” he said.
Diegaardt was quite happy with the way the team played to win the championship for the third time in a row while finishing the season unbeaten.
Wanderers’ backline coach Vince Dreyer lamented the poor start by his team, but admitted UNAM deserved to win.
“We could not play catch-up after those first 20 minutes. This is the third time against UNAM and fourth overall that we are losing in the finals, we will regroup and come back much stronger next year,” said Wanderers head coach, emphasizing the importance of discipline while calling on players to respect their opponents. – Nampa