Courageous Namibia loses opening match at RWC

22 Sep 2019 11:40am
WINDHOEK, 22 SEP (NAMPA) – Namibia’s senior men's national rugby team, the Welwitschias, lost their opening match of the 2019 Rugby World Cup (RWC) 22-47 against Italy at the Hanazono Rugby Stadium in Osaka, Japan on Sunday.
Namibia were the first to post a try after showing courage and fighting spirit against Italy just five minutes into the match.
After a brilliant start, spirited Namibia were battling to hold Italy at bay in a free-flowing opening half in their Pool B game, which Namibia was hoping to win to record its maiden win at a World Cup competition.
Damian Stevens scored his first-ever World Cup try for team Namibia, which Cliven Loubser converted for the lead just within six minutes into the match, but their lead was short-lived as Italy replied within two minutes.
The Namibian team struggled to hold onto the Italian team, which attacked like a swarm of bees and were awarded a penalty try.
Italy once again caught the Namibian team napping in the 25th minute with Tommaso Allan scoring within the post after brilliant display from the 22-line by the Italians, which gave them a 7-14 lead on the scoreboard after Allan converted from the spot.
The Italian team was once again at it after the half-time siren had sounded; they still had a lineout to complete and extended their lead when Tito Tebaldi found space down the left from just outside the 22-line. Allan converted for a 7-21 score at the halftime break.
In the second half the Namibian team managed to score two more tries through JC Greyling and Chad Plato - Loubser managed to convert one. Loubser also scored a penalty for team Namibia.
Greyling’s try in the 56th minute was his second World Cup try after scoring against Argentina in 2015, while Plato’s brilliant 78th minute try in the dying minutes of the match was his first in his debut appearance at the global showpiece.
Despite Namibia running in two tries in the second half, the Italian team once again did better than their counterparts, scoring four tries through Edoardo Padovani, Carlo Canna, Matteo Minozzi and Jake Polledri.
Allan scored one of the conversions while Canna converted two of the three conversions he took in the second half for the final 22-47 score line.
Italy’s seven tries against Namibia were the second highest they have scored at a World Cup after nine against Russia in 2011.
Namibia’s next match will be against their neighbours South Africa, who also lost their opening match at the RWC against New Zealand on Saturday. Namibia and South Africa will play on Saturday, 28 September at 11h45 local time.