The Namibian national senior rugby team's hopes were dashed by lapses in focus and handling errors, resulting in a 43-30 defeat against South Africa's Blue Bulls at the Windhoek High School sportsground on Saturday.
The Namibian Rugby team, known as the Welwitschias, concluded their final home game on Saturday before embarking on the journey to the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France, scheduled from 08 September to 28 October 2023.
Namibia finds itself placed in Group A alongside Italy, New Zealand, Uruguay, and the host nation, France.
In their ultimate preparation match for the forthcoming World Cup, the Welwitschias momentarily clinched a three-point lead. However, the visitors swiftly established dominance with Deon Slabbert scoring in the second minute, a try expertly converted by Jaco van der Walt.
The Welwitschias managed to put points on the board in the ninth minute through a penalty kick by Andre van der Berg. Alcino Izaacs secured Namibia's first try in the 18th minute, followed by a successful conversion from Van der Berg, granting Namibia the lead for the first time.
At a score of 10-07, the Bulls responded with a second try, credited to Mpilo Gumede, which was converted by Van der Walt, propelling the visitors to a 10-14 advantage.
Van der Berg added another penalty kick to the Welwitschias' tally, narrowing the gap to 13-14. However, Stravino Jacobs' try for the visitors just before halftime gave them a six-point advantage.
The first half concluded with a score of 13-19, favouring the Bulls.
As the second half unfolded, Cornal Hendricks extended the Bulls' lead with a try, expertly converted by Van der Walt. The Welwitschias swiftly retaliated with their own try, courtesy of Le Roux Malan. Despite Van der Berg's successful conversion, the Bulls maintained their lead at 26-20.
A mere seven minutes later, the Welwitschias managed another try, this time by Obert Nortje. Unfortunately, Van der Berg missed the conversion, leaving the score at a narrow 26-25, still in favour of the Bulls.
The Bulls, driven to secure victory, rapidly added to their tally with a try from Bernard van der Linde. Van der Walt's conversion attempt went wide, settling the score at 25-31.
With only 15 minutes left on the clock, Hillian Beukes secured a try for the Welwitschias. However, Van der Berg's missed conversion left the score at 30-31, with the Bulls leading.
In the final moments of the game, the Bulls surged ahead with two additional tries, scored by WJ Steenkamp and Tiaan Lange, both effectively converted by Van der Walt. The match concluded with a score of 43-30, favouring the Bulls.
Source: The Namibian Press Agency