Overcoming a stuttering first-half performance, the South African training squad XV managed an unconvincing 36-7 win over a Namibian Invitation team at the Hage Geingob Stadium in Windhoek on Friday.
In a game in which Springbok coach Peter de Villiers wanted to “test” his fringe selections – most of whom started the game – the SA XV held a slender one-point (8-7) lead at the break.
Rugby 365 reports that the first half was scrappy, with the SA XV in command, but too many handling errors and over-zealous kicking by the Namibian XV spoiled what the 12 000 crowd had hoped would be a spectacle.
The SA XV scored just a single try, by wing Odwa Ndungane in the 13th minute, after an attack from near their own line.
The home side’s captain, prop Kees Lensing, scored from a wide line-out ball and Springbok flyhalf Derick Hougaard – now playing at Leicester in England – brought his side to within a point after Peter Grant had kicked an earlier penalty to add to Ndungane’s try.
It was Ndungane again who broke what threatened to become a stranglehold – as the home team launched an early second-half onslaught – with Ryan Kankowski sprinting 50 metres to help set up the try for his Sharks teammate.
Thereafter the visiting team took control and ran in another three tries without reply for a somewhat frustrating win, although the second half provided better rugby than the first.
As expected, the match did little to provide Springbok coach Peter de Villiers with any answers ahead of the Tests against the British and Irish Lions and in truth he must have been a little frustrated by some sloppy play.
South African XV:
Tries: Ndungane 2, Smith, Muller, De Villiers
Cons: Grant, Rose 3
Namibia XV: 15 Jaco van der Westhuyzen, 14 Llewellyn Winckler, 13 Frikkie Welsh, 12 Wayne Julies, 11 John Mametsa, 10 Derick Hougaard, 9 JP Joubert, 8 Dries van Schalkwyk, 7 Jacques Nieuwenhuys, 6 Jacques Burger, 5 Nico Esterhuizen, 4 Marco Wentzel, 3 Ruan Vermeulen, 2 Danie Coetzee, 1 Kees Lensing (captain).
Replacements: 16 Hugo Horn, 17 Johnny Redelinghuys, 18 Marius Visser, 19 Fudge Mabeta, 20 Thinus du Plessis, 21 Jurie van Tonder, 22 Chrysander Botha.
South African XV: 15 Earl Rose, 14 Jongi Nokwe, 13 Morgan Newman, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Odwa Ndungane, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Ricky Januarie, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Johann Muller, 3 John Smit (captain), 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Beast Mtawarira.
Replacements – from: Adriaan Strauss, Wiehahn du Preez, Steven Sykes, Juan Smith, Schalk Burger, Jano Vermaak, Jean de Villiers, Adi Jacobs, JP Pietersen.