Rugby Africa Watch: Review of Round 3 of Gold Cup

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RWU HEADQUARTERS – 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 3 on the weekend of June 30th saw Namibia take on Morocco and Kenya against Zimbabwe.

Namibia cruise past Morocco

On Saturday 30 June, Namibia’s Welwitschias played against Morocco’s Atlas Lions during the Rugby Africa Gold Cup, a qualifier for the 2019 Rugby World Cup. In a one-way game, Namibia beat their opponents 63-07, to earn 15 points through 3 games in the competition.

It didn’t take long for Namibia to take control of the game in front of Moroccan fans gathered at the COC Stadium, Casablanca. After seven minutes, Johannes Coetzee opened the scoreboard with a try, forcing his way inside Morocco’s defence. Cliven Lousber converted successfully. Three minutes later, Vice-captain Pieter-Jan Van Lill doubled the lead with an impressive breakthrough before grounding the ball between the posts. He was then imitated by one of Namibia’s best men on the pitch, Janco Venter. The game was one-sided and the teams went back to their changing rooms with the visitors leading 35-0.

After the half-time break, Morocco looked more decided to take them on. With a more compact defence, Hocine Arabat’s teammates closed ranks and scored with a try from Karim Qadiri, surprising the slow Namibian defence. Unfortunately for Morocco, Bilal Dikhal was sent off after a bad foul in the second half. The Atlas Lions never found the resources to move beyond while Cliven Louber and Janco Venter both went on to score for the seven-times African champions. The game finished with a round of applause from the fans to encourage Morocco and, of course, to salute Namibia for a great performance.

Namibia Captain Johan Deysel shared his excitement, “We knew this team was physical, so we matched them. We made a good job, and I think we’re lucky to get the 5 points. We got here on Tuesday and we prepared well, even though travelling long-distance is hard. Congrats to Morocco for a good game and a good spirit.”

Morocco captain Hocine Arabat also added, “We lost today, but we faced a great team, very fast in the backs. They exploited our errors and lost balls. We’re in the African Gold Cup and there is still a lot of work to stay at this level. We still have two games to play and we’ll try everything to win.”

Abdelaziz Bougja, chairman of World Rugby’s African association, Rugby Africa, said: “I think Namibia was too strong today. With all the injuries the Moroccan team have picked up, they have shown a lot of courage. Needless to say, the histories are different, preparation is different. Namibia has represented Africa so many times at the World Cup, they can count on support from World Rugby and it shows on the field. There is a huge difference in the means put into the teams’ preparations. Most importantly, we watched a very good game of rugby, in spite of the 50-points difference.”

Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, Founder and CEO of APO Group, the main Official Partner of Rugby Africa, said: “In spite of a final score largely in favour of Namibia, both teams played well today in Casablanca. Of course, I salute Namibia’s third victory in a row, which puts them at the top of the 2018 Rugby Africa Gold Cup standings, and I congratulate the Moroccans who scored the first try of this tournament against the defending champions.”

Next week, Tunisia is hosting Zimbabwe, while Kenya takes on Uganda. For Morocco, the final two games will both be away. First, against Uganda on 11 August, then against Tunisia on 18 August. Namibia, on the other hand, is playing away at Zimbabwe (4 August), before hosting Kenya on 18 August.

Kenya leave it late to stop Zimbabwe

Kenya left it late to pull off their second successive Gold Cup win with a 45-36 result over Zimbabwe at the RFUEA Ground on Saturday 30 June 2018.

The hosts had the best start they could have wished for, captain Davis Chenge scoring the first of his three tries off a furious maul, Darwin Mukidza converting for a 7-0 score five minutes in.

The Sables would respond with a Fortune Chipendo try off their first foray into Simbas territory, Lenience Tambwera
scuffing the conversion for a 7-5 score before George Nyambua and Elkeans Musonye combined to set up Chenge for his brace, Mukidza making no mistake with the conversion as the hosts went 14-5 up.

Chenge would then score off a quick line out eleven minutes later, Mukidza converting for a 21-5 score,the Simbas dominant as their visitors went a man down following Chipendo’s dismissal to the sin bin for a deliberate knock on. When Tony Onyango went over for the Simbas fourth try with less than half of an hour played, it seemed like the Sables were in for a long afternoon.

This thought was shortlived as they finally found a rhythm,captain Denford Mutamangira, making his 50th appearance on the day, scoring a converted try to bring the score to 26-12. They soon went further behind, punished with a penalty try before David Makanda scored at the stroke of half time to bring the score to 33-17.

Peter de Villiers half time pep talk seemed to spark magic in the Sables stable, and they indeed kept their hosts on the ropes. Their pressure paid off when Farai Mudariki barged over, his unconverted try making it 33-22. A subsequent penalty try brought the scores to 33-29, a score symbolic of Zimbabwean pressure at this point of the game.

Simbas were soon down to 14 men after Peter Kilonzo was sent to the sin bin, the Sables taking advantage of the extra man to spread the ball wide to McNab who scored their go-ahead try, the ensuing conversion seeing them go 36-33 up, their first lead of this encounter.

The Kenyans would throw on Moses Amusala, Peter Karia, Curtis Lilako, Oliver Mang’eni, Max Kang’eri and Dallo Chituyi on for his test debut. Their impact was soon felt as they put the Sables on the defensive. They would retake the lead with a try off the maul, leading 38-36 with precious little on the clock before Chituyi capped his maiden appearance with the game winning try, Mukidza adding the extras to convert the result.

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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