United’s knock-out hopes dwindle 

United scrumhalf Hanreco van Zyl in action against Kudus. Photo: Helge Schütz

Trustco United’s hopes of retaining the Windhoek Lager Rugby Premier League title suffered a big blow when they lost a tough home encounter 20-15 to Kudus on Saturday. 

The defeat leaves them trailing in sixth place on the log, and although they still have a remote chance of making the top four knock-out spots, their hopes are receding by the day. 

In a hard-fought encounter, United came out attacking and only desperate defence by Kudus kept them at bay. 

An early forward maul from a lineout was just held up on Kudus’ tryline, while left wing Xavier Mouton nearly scored in the corner after a cross-kick by flyhalf Ricardo Swartz.

Kudus’ defence, however, stood firm and they nearly scored from their first backline attack on 12 minutes, but right wing Irongwa Atshivudhi was tackled into touch.

With the momentum swaying back and forth, United were the first to break the deadlock when their forwards set up several driving mauls, before centre Jandre Esterhuizen cut through Kudus’ backline to go over for a try converted by Hanreco van Zyl. 

Their lead lasted barely two minutes though as Kudus stormed back when centre Suramie Kambombo went over from a quick backline attack and with flyhalf Kyle Wentzel converting they were level at 7-7. 

United’s forwards continued to hammer away at Kudus’ tryline before prop Johan Brockman finally barged over for a try and although Van Zyl missed the conversion, United took a 12-7 lead into the halftime break.  

Kudus struck back in style, though, when they launched a stunning forward maul of about 30m before their impressive eighthman Ja-Tamson van den Bergh touched down. Wentzel’s conversion attempt hit the post and bounced away, leaving the teams deadlocked at 12-12. 

United edged 15-12 ahead when Van Zyl put over a penalty, but the momentum shifted to Kudus who came storming back and once again drew level through a Wentzel penalty. 

Kudus eventually took the lead when hooker Jarren Koning went on a storming run, breaking through three tackles, and although he was finally brought down, lock Tertius Arangies was on hand to go over for an unconverted try to put them 20-15 ahead with eight minutes remaining.

United came storming back in the final stages and nearly regained the lead but luck was not on their side. 

Centre Esterhuyzen first went over in the right hand corner, but was called back for stepping into touch, and then off the final move of the game, lock Zander Bronckhorst went over after charging down a kick from a lineout maul, but the try was disallowed with the referee adjudging that the ball had been knocked on.

The win saw Kudus retaining their third spot on the log on 42 points, but United are now sixth on 25 – seven points behind fourth-placed FNB Grootfontein, who suffered a narrow 20-19 away defeat to FNB Rehoboth. 

Grootfontein won the try-count 3-2, but Rehoboth were more accurate with their place-kicking to win by a single point. 

Rehoboth’s try-scorers were left wing Khee-Shaan Beukes and substitute back Miguel Busch, who added a conversion and two penalties, while centre  Henrique Olivier added another conversion. 

For Grootfontein, the centres Ian Malan and Janzeel Marais, as well as lock Johannes Breedt scored tries, while fullback Alfred Vercuil and right wing Uroel Marais each put over a conversion. 

FNB Unam, meanwhile, gained maximum points in a 57-0 romp at home against Simonis Storm Dolphins to stretch their lead at the top of the log to 55 points. 

Unam scored nine tries, with substitute back Camlo Martin scoring three; left wing Johannes Mwenyo two; and centre Kieron Diergaardt, right wing Owen Hawanga, eighthman Rowan Jansen and hooker Gerhard Thirion one each, while fullback Aljarreau Zaahl added six conversions.

FNB Wanderers remain second on the log on 48 points after beating FNB Western Suburbs 34-26 at the Wanderers field. 

Wanderers scored six tries through centre Jonathan Hanelkom (two), fullback Jurgen Meyer, flanker Kyle Nel, lock Johan Meyer and prop Iyambo Tsuuyah, while flyhalf Geraldo Beukes added two conversions. 

Suburbs scored four tries through centre Darryl Vries, substitute backs Elmarco Beukes and Shaun Mowers, and flyhalf Rudi Pretorius, who added three conversions. 

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