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Lions crush Namibians

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Windhoek – Golden Lions No 8 Ruaan Lerm was deservedly named man-of-the-match for his hat-trick of tries during his side’s 53-3 win over Namibia’s Welwitschias in the Hage Geingob Stadium in Windhoek on Friday night, the supersport.com website reports.

The Lions, last year’s beaten finalists, opened their 2015 campaign with a convincing win over the Namibians who are returning to the Vodacom Cup in a bid to prepare their locally based club players to a higher level of competition ahead of the World Cup starting in September.

Scrumhalf Ricky Schroeder’s visitors ran in five unopposed tries to take a 34-3 lead at halftime.

The Lions’ forwards were dominant and used attacking lineouts from penalty kicks as a platform for seven out of their eventual eight tries.

The Welwitschias, coached by former Bulls and Pumas hooker Henry Kemp, lost the penalty count 15 to 9. Their infringements on the ground or offside play made thing pretty easy for the Gauteng team to set up the lineouts as a platform for driving mauls or bullocking runners.

As the Lions played with less intensity in the second half, the home team gradually picked up more confidence and performed slightly better on defence and attack.

A tough battle was to be expected as Namibia aims to use the Vodacom Cup to broaden its base of local amateurs ahead of the World Cup in England.

Kemp’s starting 15 ended up containing not a single combination (front row, locks, loosies, halfbacks, centres or back three) that has ever played together at any level before. Moreover, they did not play any warm-up matches in the pre-season.

His starting flyhalf Henrique Olivier, fresh from completing his matric at Windhoek Gymnasium last year, missed two penalty attempts from long range, before left wing Johann Tromp took over, succeeding with one easier penalty before a second deflected away from the upright.

The Namibians lost their captain, Darryl de la Harpe, midway through the second half due to a groin strain. The centre appeared hopeful that he could be back to face the Pumas next weekend. Tighthead prop Andries Rousseau (knee) also left the field on a stretcher after 24 minutes and was replaced by Jaco Engels.

An enthusiastic crowd of about 3 000 turned up to support the home team, despite light rainfall for most of the match.

“We drew energy from the vibe of the crowd, which was bigger than we get at some other venues in this competition,” Lions captain Ricky Schroeder remarked afterwards.

Scorers:

Golden Lions:

Tries: Ruaan Lerm (3), Steph de Witt (2), Bobby de Wee (2) and Alwyn Hollenbach

Conversions: Ashlon Davids (3), Damian Engledoe (2)

Penalty: Davids (1)

Welwitschias:

Penalty: Johann Tromp

Courtesy of Sport24


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