BULAWAYO – Seven-time champions Namibia took a step closer to qualifying for next year's Rugby World Cup in Japan, in recording a 58-28 Rugby African Gold Cup win over Zimbabwe at the Hartsfield ground in Bulawayo on Saturday afternoon.
The hosts were desperate to record a major upset and their first win of this year's tournament but it was not to be as the Namibians ran in three first-half tries against the solitary five-pointer from Zimbabwe, to lead 27-7 at the break.
Zimbabwe managed to enter the Namibian final third on many occasions but failed to finish off their moves, whereas the visitors were able to take full advantage when on the attack, sometimes helped by some sloppy home team tacking
The Zimbabwean pack held their own in the scrums but battled in the rucks and mauls, and despite being in with a chance at 39-21 down, the floodgates opened to make the scoreline formidable in favour of the visitors.
When given room, the Zimbabwean back-line showed promise with winger Tatadzwa Chitokwindo carving through the Namibian defence to dot down in the second half, after Namibian flyhalf Cliven Loubser made a rare mistake by not finding touch with his clearance kick.
Namibian goal-kicker Loubser was in superb form with the boot in contributing 16 points with five conversions and two penalties, to pave the way to another 5 points (4 for the win and 1 bonus point).
Namibia now have 20 points from 4 games, with their last encounter scheduled to be a home match against second-on-the-log Kenya (12 points from two games) on August 18. Kenya's penultimate match will against the Tunisians in Nairobi on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Tunisia's hopes of finishing second in the Gold Cup and standing a chance of qualifying for next year's Rugby World Cup, disappeared as they crashed 67-12 to Uganda on a soggy field at the Kyando Sports Club in Kampala on Saturday.
The Ugandans started like a house on fire and led 5-0 for the first 25 minutes, but then found themselves on the downside of a Ugandan onslaught that saw them 25-5 down at halftime.
Uganda fullback Phillip Okorach was the star for the hosts as they registered their first win in the tournament this season.
Things went pear-shaped for the Ugandans when Tunisian prop Mohammed Yassine was sent to the sin-bin in the final stages of the first half, which brought about the hosts finding top gear against the 14-men of Tunisia.
African News Agency (ANA)