Indiscipline costs Namibia as the wait continues

Namibia scrumhalf Damian Stevens tackles Uruguay eighthman Carlos Deus during their Rugby World Cup match on 27 September 2023. Photo: World Rugby

The wait for a first win at the Rugby World Cup continues after Namibia lost their final match 36-26 against Uruguay on Wednesday. 

It started off so well as Gerswin Mouton raced through to score the first try after barely a minute and another by JC Greyling after a great pickup saw Namibia streaking into a 14-0 lead after only 12 minutes.

Uruguay replied with two tries of their own, but Tiaan Swanepoel, who had a great day with the boot, added three more penalties and with Namibia leading 23-12 early in the second half it looked like they were on track for a first-ever world cup victory. 

It was not to be, however, as the momentum swung to Uruguay, while indiscipline led to Namibia’s downfall. 

First Aranos Coetzee was yellow-carded for collapsing the scrum, and when captain Tjuee Uanivi and Des Sethie also received yellow cards for illegal tackles within two minutes of each other, Namibia’s hopes went up in smoke.

Down to 13 men at a stage, they battled on courageously, but the odds were too great and Uruguay exploited the widening gaps to seal a 10-point victory. 

The two sides weighed up quite evenly throughout according to the official statistics of the match.

Namibia enjoyed a 52-48 percent territorial advantage, but Uruguay had a 56-44 percent advantage in possession. Uruguay won the mauls 5-1, while Namibia won the turnovers 5-4.

Namibia’s indiscipline, however, led to two yellow cards and one red card, while they missed 34 tackles compared to only 18 by Uruguay. 

After the match Uanivi admitted ill-discipline ledto their downfall. 

“Our discipline let us down. To get two yellow cards and then a red makes it very hard. Our discipline at the end of the day cost us.

“We lost the game, but I am very proud of the boys. I know they left it all out there. Apart from the discipline issue, I am super proud of them.”

Namibia coach Allister Coetzee concurred.

“Discipline in the end of the day obviously had an influence on the result. We were in control in the first half, when we only conceded six penalties, but in the second half we conceded 13, which took our momentum and control away,” he said. 

“The penalties take complete control and momentum away and that was the most disappointing part of our plan. But at the same time, as disappointed as I am, I will draw heart from the period we were defending with 13 men and they didn’t break through for a long period,” he added.

“This team has gone through a hell of a tough week. They lost their captain, then we had four senior players injured. When you put that into perspective, there’s a lot of heart in the team to build on. But we can’t build after we qualify (for a Rugby World Cup). We’ve got to build as soon as possible from next year,” he said. 

Namibia winger JC Greyling said it was a tough pill to swallow.

“We are hurting at the moment. We have worked so hard for this game, we worked for three yearsand it is the game we wanted to win so badly. I think we played really well, I think we dominated that first half and I think we had belief deep into the second half. But ill-discipline was the end of us. I think to play at this level you can’t concede three yellow cards. It’s hurtful.”

Greyling added that it was very tough for the players who received yellow cards.

“They are very sad. I saw Des (Sethie) after he heard he got a red, he was in tears. Obviously this match was massive for us, he felt it was his fault in that matter. But we will back him all the way. There is nothing to be ashamed of.”
“I want to thank allof our fans, even the people in France. We have a lot of supporters around the world so we are quite disappointed we couldn’t bring the win home,” he added.

Namibian centre Danco Burger said it was a bittersweet ending. 

“The feeling in the camp is one of a bittersweet ending. JC Greyling passed the record for the most tries by a Namibian, so that’s great, but we really wanted to win this match,” he said. 

“Every time we put on the Namibian jersey we play with pride, and we gained a lot from all our matches. There was a lot of personal growth for the players and we got together really well for this last match, but our indiscipline got us today,” he added. 

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