Namibia Captain Cameron Langenhoven scored a try deep in extra time to earn his team a hard-fought 34-32 win over Zimbabwe in a nail-biting Under-19 Rugby Africa Cup Group 1A Tournament final at St Georges College this afternoon (29 August 2015).
The win earned Namibia a berth in next year’s Junior World Rugby Championships while ensuring the Old Mutual Zimbabwe Young Sables will have to wait yet again before tasting victory against their Southern African rivals.
After regulation time ended full time in a 27-27 draw, impressive Prince Edward fullback Shingi Katsvere looked to have handed the Old Mutual Young Sables a famous win with a fourth try of the match in the first period of extra time. However, Namibia refused to give up as Langenhoven scored a converted try late in the extra time to take a 32-34 lead.
The Young Sables could however still have snatched a win via a penalty in the last moments of the match, but fullback Joshua Gando missed the target from close range to end the Zimbabwe’s hopes of an upset.
Namibia scored the first points of the match with a penalty by Oliver, who also converted one of the two tries by center Janry Du Toit and fullback Brendon Dentlinge. Zimbabwe, who initially struggled in defense, responded through two tries by Katsvere, one of which came just before the break after Cameron McNab was sent for an early shower for dangerous play at the breakdown.
After recovering from a 0-15 early deficit, the home side, supported by an enthusiastic and large crowd, was left to rue a missed opportunity; they could have easily wrapped up the match in regulation time as they led the match 27-20 with less than a minute left on the clock. However, the Namibians scored a last minute try through flyhalf Henrique Oliver to give them the momentum heading into extra time.
The Young Sables appeared to be take control of the match soon after half time with converted tries from speedsters Brian Matoramusha and Katsvere, and for a moment it looked like Namibia could be on the edge of a thumping. Instead, the better conditioned Namibians regrouped to stay in the match before the powerful Oliver crashed over in the arms of two Young Sables defenders.
Namibia always had the momentum heading into extra time, but it was the Young Sables who took the lead via another brilliant try from Katsvere. However crucially for the visitors, Gando missed the conversion from the tight angle which meant they could win with a converted try of their own.
With time running out the Namibians were throwing everything at the Young Sables and were rewarded when their skipper Cameron Langenhoven burrowed his way over from close range. Flyhalf Oliver kept his cool to sent the conversion over despite the jeers from the local fans to book his team’s tick to next year’s Junior World Rugby Trophy.
Meanwhile in the earlier match for third place, Kenya beat their East African rivals Uganda by a comfortable 21-5 to stay in the top tier Rugby Africa Cup Group 1A ,while the latter is relegated to group 1B.
Zimbabwe U-19 (5) 27
Namibia Under-19 (20) 27
(Namibia Under-19 win 32-34 after extra time)
Zimbabwe – Tries: Shingirai Katsvere (4), Brian Matoramusha (1), Conversions: Joshua Gando (2). Penalty: Joshua Gando (1).
Namibia – Tries: Janry Du Toit (1), Brendon Delinge (1), Henrique Oliver (2), Cameron Langenhoven (1), Henrique Oliver: Conversions: (4) Penalties: Henrique Oliver (1)