Rugby Africa Watch: Review of Rounds 1 and 2 of Gold Cup

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The 2018 edition of the Rugby Africa Gold Cup, a qualifier for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, will be played from 16 June to 18 August by the national teams of Namibia, Kenya, Uganda, Morocco, Zimbabwe and Tunisia.

In Round 1 on the weekend of June 16th saw Namibia take on Uganda and Zimbabwe against Morocco. 

In the first match on Saturday 16 June, the Namibia senior rugby team the Welwitschias played against Uganda’s Rugby Cranes in the first match of the 2018 Rugby Africa Gold Cup.

The Welwitschias who have won the Rugby Africa Gold Cup for four times in a row started off their defence on a positive note as they humbled Uganda 55-6 at the Hage Geingob Stadium in Windhoek on Saturday afternoon.

It only took seven minutes for the Namibian team to put points on the scoreboard after brilliant play from the right wing to the left found right flanker Janco Venter who scored their opening try and Cliven Loubser made no mistake from the spot.

Namibia strike once again in the 12th minute through Johann Greyling who was too strong and fast for the Ugandan’s. Venter converted from the spot.

Uganda had a chance of bringing themselves back into the game when the referee awarded them a penalty in the 16th minute but a poor taken penalty by their scrum half Aaron Ofoyrwoth kept the score line the same.

In the 18th minute the Welwitschias score their third try of the match from a lineout after a brilliant driving maun saw their hooker Orbet Nortje add to their score once more with Loubser scoring the conversion to make the score 21-0.

Before the half time break Namibia’s team captain Johan Deysel score one more try for his team in the 27th minute but Loubser miss from the spot.

Uganda were once more given a penalty in the 34th minutes and James Ijongat made no mistake as he added his team’s first points on the scoreboard.

The half time score was 26-3 in favour of the home team.

In the second half it was still a one-way affair as the Namibians ran in five more tries compared to their opponents who only scored a penalty.

Namibia’s tries in the second half were scored by hooker, Louis van der Westhuizen who scored two tries, left flanker Wian Conradie scored one, Greyling scored his second try of the match, while full back Chrysander Botha who made his 50th cap on the day also added to the score board with his try in the 66th minute of the match.

Ijongat scored his second penalty for the Rubgy Cranes while Ofoyrwoth missed a penalty once more in the second half.

Out of the five tries that were scored by Namibia in the second half only two were converted. Loubser converted once while substitute Pieter Steenkamp converted the other.

Speaking to the media after the match Namibia’s coach Phil Davies said the match was very hard for his team but he was happy they won it as more difficult tests still awaits them.

His captain Deysel who captained the team for the first time said it was good to win in front of the home supporters and they will now turn their attention to their next match of the competition.

Meanwhile, Chairman of World Rugby’s African association, Rugby Africa, Abdelaziz Bougja expressed his excitement on the great rugby displayed by both teams.

“The defending champions meant business and did not leave anything to chance. Uganda had a difficult start but I wish to congratulate both teams for displaying great rugby. This second match was also the first leg of our trophy tour and clearly today’s matches have shown that all six teams will fight hard to take the prize home! Thank you to our unions for hosting these matches brilliantly and to Kwese Sports for enabling the whole world to see what African rugby is all about”, he said.

Draw in Casabalanca

In the second match 0n Saturday 16 June 2018, the Zimbabwe Sables played against Morocco’s Atlas Lions during the 2018 Rugby Africa Gold Cup, a qualifier for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. In a largely aggressive game, Zimbabwe drew its opponent 23 – 23 on the final whistle.

The first half began on a frustrating note for both teams as they each sought to make their way to the try line. Unequally matched, in terms of experience in the competition, the two sides proved to be equally matched on the field as they maintained a 00-00 point deadlock. In the first quarter, Zimbabwe conceded a penalty to Morocco giving flyhalf and man-of-the-match, Hmidouch Chakir an opportunity to kick for 3 points lead. Zimbabwe fullback Shingirai Katsvere proceeded to bring cheers from the home crowd as he scored earning his first Sables cap, a try which was successfully converted by Lenience Tambwera giving Zimbabwe a 7-3 point lead.

Twenty seven minutes in to the match, Morocco’s defense gave way to a second try from Zimbabwe’s debut player, Katsvere raising the score to 14-3. The Atlas Lions were not to be waylaid as they made a comeback with a try and a quick conversion by Chakir. Half-time saw Morocco leading their hosts 14-16.

The second half had Morocco and Zimbabwe actively taking advantage of the penalty system impacting on the scoreboard. Morocco conceded two penalties to Zimbabwe in the 67th minute allowing the hosts to lead 20-16. In the last fifteen minutes, Morocco fullback Jaoudat Souheyl added five points for his team which was successfully converted by Chakir, leading Zimbabwe 20-23. The match ended on a 23-23 draw owing to a penalty taken by Zimbabwe flyhalf, Lenience Tambwera.

Zimbabwe Sables captain, Denford Mutamangira said: “Morocco played well, we made a few crucial mistakes on our defense which we need to be corrected ahead of our next game.”

In an interview with Morocco captain, Arabat Hocine said: “We appreciate the ambiance the crowd brought today. We’ve only been able to train as a team for a week and playing Zimbabwe has given us a picture of how competitive our opponents are.”

Morocco coach Pierre Chadebech also added: “Zimbabwe was difficult to beat. We to need work on retaining the ball when going into contact and play a faster game. We will work on our mistakes in preparation for our game against Kenya.”

“What a thrilling opening game for the Rugby Africa Gold cup. It was a very close game, very well balanced actually. Well done to both teams, it promises an exciting tournament!”, said Abdelaziz Bougja, chairman of World Rugby’s African association, Rugby Africa.

“The excitement, support and suspense that surrounds the Rugby Africa Gold Cup keeps growing every year. The opening day of the 2018 Rugby Africa Gold Cup has been hailed a huge success by the fans and sponsors. Rugby is the fastest growing sport in Africa and has seen record participation growth and fan engagement over the last five years”, said Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, Founder and CEO of APO Group (, the main Official Partner of Rugby Africa.


Record-breaking Namibia
Namibia continue their perfect start to the Africa Gold Cup as they chase automatic qualification to Rugby World Cup 2019
DUBLIN, Ireland, June 26, 2018/ — Namibia recorded their biggest-ever score in test rugby as they took another step towards reclaiming the Africa Gold Cup with a 118-0 win over Tunisia in Windhoek.

Leslie Klim and JC Greyling both scored four tries apiece and Chrysander Botha grabbed a hat-trick in a victory that puts the Welwitchias in total command at the top of the standings and on course to qualify directly for RWC 2019 as Africa 1.

This was the second win for the Welwitschias following their 55-6 victory over Uganda at the same venue a week ago.

Namibia meant business from the start scoring their first try in the second minute through right winger Klim, which was converted by fly-half Cliven Loubser. Captain Johan Deysel added another converted try to make in 12-0 within 10 minutes before Klim got his second, Loubser kicking the extras to put the hosts 21-0 up with only 14 minutes on the clock.

Tunisia were offered a chance to put some points on the board in the 19th minute, but Nejemeddine Khaliea missed his penalty attempt.

Botha then got in on the act with an unconverted try as Namibia’s scoring spree continued with man-of-the-match Maharua Katjijeko, Wian Conradie, Greyling, and a penalty try putting the Welwitschias in total control at half-time.

Leading 52-0, Namibia continued from where they left off after the restart, scoring 10 more tries in the second half with Greyling accounting for three of them and Botha and Klim two apiece. Replacements PJ van Lill, Damien Stevens and Johan Tromp also contributed to the landslide victory.

Namibia head coach Phil Davies was understandably pleased with the ruthlessness shown by his side against an out-of-sorts Tunisia. “The boys played well in the second half with the flowing passing game. I am still in the process of building a competitive team as most of these players are still very young,” he said.

Spirited Simbas open with win

Namibia top the standings with 10 points while Kenya are six points behind in second after beginning their Gold Cup campaign with a hard-fought 28-24 win away to Morocco.

The Simbas took an early lead through Biko Adema’s converted try but Morocco, playing their second match after holding Zimbabwe 23-23 in Harare, hit back with two tries, both unconverted, to lead 10-7 at the interval.

A converted try from Morocco captain Asim Arabat took the home side’s advantage into double figures, but Kenya dug deep and hit back with a two-try salvo from Tony Onyango and Moses Omusala.

Another seven-pointer from Onyango opened up some daylight between the teams and a late try from Morocco was scant consolation for the North Africans who, at one point, were looking good to make it a hat-trick of home wins over the Simbas having beaten them in the two previous encounters in 2005 and 2009.

The victory saw Kenya, ranked 28th, close the gap between themselves and the Netherlands in the World Rugby Rankings to just 0.22 of a point.

Namibia did not get any reward for their victory over Tunisia as they started the game over 11 points better off in the rankings.

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And as always, stay low and keep pumping those legs.

About Junoir Blaber 868 Articles
Born in Osu, Accra, Ghana, West Africa, Junoir Blaber is a rare commodity; while most Ghanians eat, sleep and dream Soccer (football), Junoir is all about Rugby. A self-proclaimed Rugbyologist, he has been involved in Rugby as a ref, coach, administrator and player since Columbus discovered Ohio. His useful/trivial rugby knowledge qualify Blaber as RWU's Senior Correspondent & known in rugby circles as The Rugby Rain Man. He can also be found moonlighting for our American partners at