Unam wins thrilling rugby season opener

11 Mar 2017 20:00pm
WINDHOEK, 11 MAR (NAMPA) – The 2017 Namibian Club Rugby season got underway on Saturday with two-time defending champions, University of Namibia (UNAM) Rugby Club beating Western Suburbs by 24 to 23 points in an exciting match at Suburbs Park in Windhoek.
In a match watched by a packed house, UNAM were the first out of the blocks, attacking Suburbs with a free-flowing brand of rugby.
They could however not put any points on the board, as their opponents defended well.
It took UNAM 15 minutes to register their first try through Martin Camlo, following a great interchange of passes between Captain Bradley Klazen and Lesly Klim, who released Calmo to score the try at the corner.
UNAM dominated both the scrums and the lineouts, a factor which was lamented by the opposing coach and players as the decisive factors for UNAM’s victory.
They continued to dominate the first half and scored two more tries through Chessborough Lawrence and Klim, before Suburbs responded with two penalties of their own.
The two teams went to half time with the score line reading 19 points to 06, in favour of UNAM.
Suburbs came back from the break a changed team and scored a penalty within a minute of restart.
They continued dominating their opponents and were rewarded with two tries in a space of five minutes.
Both tries were converted and the lead changed hands midway through the second half as Suburbs took 23 to 19 points lead.
Unfortunately, indiscipline appears to have cost Suburbs as they had to play most of the later parts of the second half with 13 men following two quick sin bins for JC Winkler and Nikin Cloete.
UNAM piled on the pressure but could not utilise their two men advantage, though they scored a late try through Klim to take the score line to 24 to 23 points until the end of the game.
Rudolf Witbooi, the Suburbs Coach was gracious in defeat saying his team is one of the contenders for the cup this year.
“The players dropped themselves as the two yellow cards cost us the game. We will have to remain focused on what we want to achieve and also work on our discipline,” he said.
UNAM coach Johan Diergaardt paid tribute to his team for coming out with a favourable result, but was critical at the approach of the second half.
“My boys tend to relax and take things easy if the game becomes easy for them. We lost concentration in the second half and that almost cost us a game,” he said.
This was the opening game of the 2017 Rugby Season.
UNAM have not lost a match since April 2016.
In other matches played on Saturday, in a local derby in Rehoboth, the home team of the day Rehoboth beat their fierce rivals Reho Falcons by 22 points to 19, while in Kudus defeated Walvis Bay by 24 points to 23.