IRB Nations Cup
Namibia win IRB Nations Cup
Namibia created history on June 20, 2010 when they beat Georgia 21-16 to win the IRB Nations Cup for the first time in their history. Namibia was the only unbeaten team at the tournament after they beat Romania 21-17 and Scotland A 23-20 in their earlier matches.
In their final match against Georgia, Namibia were trailing 13-0 at half time, but they produced a great comeback to win the match 21-16. In the first half of a match of tremendous physicality, Georgia dominated possession in the first half to take a 13-0 lead at the break.
The game seemed to swing, though, on the injuries of their captain Tedo Zibzibadze, who departed with a dislocated elbow, and centre Revaz Giauri, who played the rest of the match with a shoulder injury. As a result, the Georgians lost much of their attacking appetite and defensive solidity and after half time Namibia, led by their iron-man Jacques Burger, sensed the discomfort of the Georgians and bounced back with a vengeance.
They scored two tries, the first signed off by the indefatigable Burger and the second through their nimble and increasingly influential full back Chrysander Botha, who added the rest of the points through three penalties and one conversion.
Great team effort
Jacques Burger, Namibia’s captain praised his team for their fine comeback.
“We tried to work hard as a team and the work ethic was better than theirs. We knew from the beginning it would be hard and physical and we decided to keep playing. In the last 40 minutes we started to close the gap and capitalise on their mistakes and that was the game.” Namibian coach Johan Diergaardt said his side could become a great team.
“At half time it was a matter of putting all the things together again and telling the boys that we can actually make it; they just had to stop making mistakes, silly mistakes, and start working harder. They did just that and that helped a lot. I do believe that they showed a lot of character after the break and I’m feeling great about this team.”
“This is not the end, it’s just the beginning as this team has a lot of potential to become a great team. We are thankful for what we have.”
Namibia beat Romania
On June 11, Namibia came from behind to edge Romania 21-17 and win their opening match of the 2010 IRB Nations Cup.
The hosts looked dominant during the early exchanges with an early try by left wing Catalin Fercu but then flattered to deceive. Their inability to score when dominant in the first half cost them dearly after the break as the heat took its toll. After half time the heavier Romanian pack wilted in the blazing sun and the Namibians bounced back into the game with a well taken try by their lively centre Darryl de la Harpe.
For a short while the Romanians stole the lead with a try scored by their pack after a driving maul and converted brilliantly by Dan Dumbrava, but Romanian celebrations we cut short by an extraordinary try by the Namibian right wing Llewellyn Winkler, who sidestepped and dummied his way through a bewildered Romanian defence for the killer blow in injury time.
Namibian captain Jacques Burger was delighted with the win. “I am delighted with this win, our first against Romania. I played against them once and lost and this is really very pleasing for me and the guys, some of whom played them twice and lost twice. This is the result of a lot of hard work by the boys and I am really proud of them. The heat played a part in this match, but it was the same for both teams. ”
Namibia beat Scotland A
Four days later Namibia beat the 2009 champions Scotland A 23-20 in an exciting encounter. It was the exciting Namibian back division that did most of the damage – outside half Jacky Bock, the De la Harpe brothers Sergio and Darryl, Piet van Zyl and Llewellyn Winkler all ably orchestrated by the talented scrumhalf Eugene Jantjies – based on a solid forward effort led by Saracens wing forward and skipper Jacques Burger.
Scotland started strongly as Bryan Rennie went over for their first try some 15 minutes into the game. With David Blair and Chrysander Botha exchanging penalties, it was the outstanding Jantjies who struck back to cut the deficit to five points. Tries by hooker Shaun Esterhuizen and replacement forward Tinus du Plessis left the Scots trailing by 10 points but led by their never-say-die skipper Ally Hogg they bounced back with a vengeance.
Replacement Greg Laidlaw scored a try, which he converted himself to cut the deficit to three points with 10 minutes to go and the Scots spent the rest of the game massed in the Namibian 22 but for a variety of reasons, from sheer bad luck to poor options they failed to score enabling Namibia to add a second scalp to their growing collection.
Last in 2007
Namibia first competed in the IRB Nations Cup in 2007 when they came last out of six nations after losing all three their matches. On June 5, they lost 26-18 to Georgia, with prop Marius Visser and flyhalf Justinus van der Westhuizen scoring tries while Van der Westhuizen added two penalties and TC Losper one conversion. Five days later Namibia lost 47-13 to Argentina Jaguars, with Jacques Nieuwenhuis scoring a try and TC Losper a conversion and two penalties. On June 16, Namibia lost 28-16 to Romania. Flanker Tinus du Plessis scored a try and Losper added a conversion and three penalties.
Third in 2011
Namibia did not compete in 2008 and 2009 but returned in 2010 when they won the title for the first time. In 2011, Namibia came fourth out of six nations after winning one and losing two of its matches. On June 10, Namibia suffered a narrow 13-11 defeat to Romania. Chrysander Botha scored a try and a penalty, while Eugene Jantjies added another penalty. Five days later Namibia beat Portugal 29-23. Namibia scored two tries through McGrath van Wyk and a penalty try, while Theuns Kotze added 19 points with the boot. On June 19, Namibia lost 23-18 to Georgia. Llewellyn Winckler and Heini Bock scored tries for Namibia while Eugene Jantjies added two penalties and a conversion.