Namibia’s FNB Welwitschias earned their first two league points of the Vodacom Cup series despite their narrow defeat against the Down Touch Griffons in the Hage Geingob Stadium in Windhoek on Friday night.
The visitors from Northern Free State scored a 32-28 win after the home team led 21-18 at halftime.
The Welwitschias earned a bonus point for scoring four tries, and another for losing within seven points.
Namibian fullback Justin Nel was awarded the man of the match for his hat-trick of tries. Two of his five-pointers came after good work from outside centre Johann Tromp.
Left wing Russell van Wyk scored the first try after just three minutes to hand the Welwitschias the lead. It was the first of three Namibian tries scored in the right-hand corner which flyhalf Shaun Kaizemi failed to convert.
Nel’s first try put the Namibians 10-0 ahead, but the Griffons never gave up and hit back through an attack in midfield which resulted in a try for fullback Wynand Pienaar.
Flank Martin Sithole scored the Griffons’ first try after halftime from a lineout maul, while the decisive final try by replacement forward Wilmar Groenewald (66 minutes) also resulted from the decision to turn a kickable penalty into an attacking lineout.
Griffons flyhalf Louis Strydom’s kicking boot contributed 12 points which proved vital in the end to clinching the full five points.
Although still far from a faultless display by the Namibians, especially on defence, they played and attacked with far greater confidence than in their earlier defeats against the northern group heavyweights, the Xerox Lions and the Steval Pumas.
Following an off weekend over Easter and with a few stalwarts expected to return from injury, the Welwitschias will be looking forward to the Vodacom Bulls’ visit on April 10. The Pretoria sides always draw good crowds in Windhoek – and a spirited display from the home side.
FNB Welwitschias: Tries: Justin Nel (3), Russell van Wyk. Conversion: Shaun Kaizemi. Penalties: Kaizemi (2).
Down Touch Griffons: Tries: Wynand Pienaar, Brenvin Marais, Martin Sithole, Wilmar Groenewald. Conversions: Louis Strydom (3). Penalties: Strydom (2).
by Andrew Poolman
Courtesy of SupersportTagged under Griffons Welwitschias