Dolphins break the ice 

Luciano Geingob in action for Dolphins. File photo

While FNB Unam are expected to regain the lead at the top of the Windhoek Lager Rugby Premier League log tomorrow, the focus will also be at the other end of the table. 

Simonis Storm Dolphin Rugby Club, competing in the premier league for the first time, last weekend recorded their first victory of the season when they beat FNB Rehoboth 31-29 on their Swakopmund home ground at Tamariskia.

Dolphins stormed into a 26-7 lead at half time, after scoring four tries, including a penalty try. Rehoboth made a great comeback to close the gap, but a late try by flanker Keeanu Engelbrecht gave Dolphins victory. 

That was their first win after eight successive defeats and Dolphins coach Hauta Veii yesterday said it had boosted their self-confidence, but added that the process takes time.

“It was a great feeling to get our first win, it boosted our belief and self confidence. But the league has been very tough, coming from the first division, and it has been a steep learning curve. The challenge has been to keep the players positive, but I’m not focussing on the outcomes, but rather the performance on the day. None of the other teams started where they are now – they all had to build up and go through struggles to get there,” he said. 

Dolphins are now aiming for their second win tomorrow when they host a struggling FNB Western Suburbs, who are second last on the log with just two wins so far. One of those victories came in their last match, though, when they edged third-placed FNB Kudus 24-23 at home and Veii believes Suburbs will be the favourites. 

“Suburbs are doing well, they beat Kudus in their last game so they have that momentum now. It’s going to be tough and we are still the underdogs so we will have to step up,” he said. 

Suburbs won their first round encounter against Dolphins 33-17 at Suburbs Park on 17 April, but Hauta said they are now stronger. 

“The last time Suburbs beat us with a physical game, but we have worked on that and want to dominate the set-pieces on Saturday.”

Veii, who is being assisted by Eugene Jantjies and Otto Swartz in the coaching department, said the standard of rugby is improving at Swakopmund. 

“Rugby is picking up in Swakop, and schools rugby has also improved over the last few years. We want to be a community team and play the type of rugby that our community will be proud of,” he said. 

Unam, meanwhile, host FNB Grootfontein and will be keen to bounce back after their 27-24 defeat to FNB Wanderers last weekend. It was a bruising battle with numerous big hits on both sides, which might stretch Unam’s injury list, but they should have too much class and depth for Grootfontein. 

Veii, a former Unam player, said there is not much to choose between Wanderers and Unam in this season’s title battle. 

“It depends on who will lose the most players to the national team. Unam might have more depth and they have a strong second team, but if Wanderers are at full strength they might win,” he said. 

This season’s league, though, has already delivered quite a few surprises and Grootfontein cannot be discounted. They have a strong pack of forwards and their battle against Unam in the scrums and set pieces will be interesting to observe.

Kudus, meanwhile, travel to Rehoboth to take on Rehoboth Rugby Club who are third from bottom, and will be determined to bounce back after last weekend’s defeat to Dolphins. 

The match between FNB Reho Falcon and Trustco United has been postponed until further notice. 

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