02 Sep 2019 17:21pm
WINDHOEK, 01 SEP (NAMPA) Trustco United Rugby Club produced one of the greatest comebacks in Namibian rugby history to defeat favourites University of Namibia (UNAM) 44-42 in an exciting 2019 Namibia Rugby Premier League final at the Hage Geingob Stadium on Saturday.
Having led at halftime by 27-22 points and also, with 15 minutes to go by 42-25 points, UNAM crumbled in the last few minutes to hand United the championship for the first time since 2014.
UNAM started off brightly, using their speed to trouble United, but it was Uniteds captain Winmar Rust who stole the show with his kicking precision.
Rust, who was playing his 160th and final topflight match for his club, led by top scoring with 24 points from the boot through three conversions and six penalties.
The other points for his team were scored by Thomas Kali (two tries), Neil van Vuuren and replacement Morne Blaauw (one try each).
Both teams produced stunning rugby as United dominated the driving mauls, which led to two of their four tries.
On the other end UNAM got their points through Lorenzo Luis (19 points) from one try, three conversions, one penalty and one penalty try.
Reiner Benade added two penalties while Cameron Klaazen and brothers Simon and Sunday Haitembu each contributed a try apiece for UNAMs 42 points.
Man of the moment and match Rust made sure his side continued to put points on the board as his precise kicking made sure that the students do not run away with the match.
Speaking after the match, UNAM coach Johan Diergaardt questioned several calls made by the match officials, saying they cost his team the championship.
For 95 per cent of the match we were in charge. We had some bad calls against us but we will take it on the chin. I am sure the boys have learnt a lot this year. In the end it is tough to lose like this in the last minutes. They also made a couple of poor decisions in the match. Their effort in the last 10 minutes was not good, he said.
His opposite number, Robbie Dickson was ecstatic in victory, saying his players showed character.
The forward pack showed character. We worked hard in that aspect of our game in the last year. UNAM are a special team to play against. They have a never say die spirit [and] they came to the party today, [but] we just took our chances, he said.