CAPE TOWN, July 1, 2018 – Namibia’s Welwitschias defeated Morocco’s Atlas Lions 63-7 in Game 3 of the Rugby Africa Gold Cup on Saturday in Casablanca to earn 15 points in the competition.
In the one-sided encounter, it did not take long for Namibia to take control of the game in front of Moroccan fans gathered at the COC Stadium. After seven minutes, Johannes Coetzee opened the scoreboard with a try, forcing his way inside Morocco’s defence. Cliven Lousber converted successfully. Three minutes later, Vice-captain Pieter-Jan Van Lill doubled the lead with an impressive breakthrough before grounding the ball between the posts. He was then imitated by one of Namibia’s best men on the pitch, Janco Venter. The teams went back to their changing rooms with the visitors leading 35-0.
After the half-time break, Morocco looked more decided to take them on. With a more compact defence, Hocine Arabat’s teammates closed ranks and scored with a try from Karim Qadiri, surprising the slow Namibian defence. Unfortunately for Morocco, Bilal Dikhal was sent off after a bad foul in the second half. The Atlas Lions never found the resources to move beyond that while Cliven Louber and Janco Venter both went on to score for the seven-times African champions. The game finished with a round of applause from the fans to encourage Morocco and, of course, to salute Namibia for a great performance.
Namibia Captain Johan Deysel shared his excitement, “We knew this team was physical, so we matched them. We did a good job, and I think we’re lucky to get the 5 points. We got here on Tuesday and we prepared well, even though travelling long-distance is hard. Congrats to Morocco for a good game and a good spirit.”
Morocco captain Hocine Arabat also added, “We lost today, but we faced a great team, very fast in the backs. They exploited our errors and lost balls. We’re in the African Gold Cup and there is still a lot of work to stay at this level. We still have two games to play and we’ll try everything to win.”
Abdelaziz Bougja, chairman of World Rugby’s African association, Rugby Africa said: “I think Namibia was too strong today. With all the injuries the Moroccan team have picked up, they have shown a lot of courage. Needless to say, the histories are different, preparation is different. Namibia has represented Africa so many times at the World Cup, they can count on support from World Rugby and it shows on the field. There is a huge difference in the means put into the teams’ preparations. Most importantly, we watched a very good game of rugby, in spite of the 50-points difference.”
Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, Founder and CEO of APO Group, the main Official Partner of Rugby Africa, said: “In spite of a final score largely in favour of Namibia, both teams played well today in Casablanca. Of course, I salute Namibia’s third victory in a row, which puts them at the top of the 2018 Rugby Africa Gold Cup standings, and I congratulate the Moroccans who scored the first try of this tournament against the defending champions.”
Next week, Tunisia will host Zimbabwe, while Kenya take on Uganda. For Morocco, the final two games will both be away. First, against Uganda on 11 August, then against Tunisia on 18 August. Namibia, on the other hand, are playing away at Zimbabwe (4 August), before hosting Kenya on 18 August.