Wanderers, Kudus close in on Unam

Obert Nortje scored three tries for Wanderers in their 31-15 win against United. Photo: Helge Schütz

FNB Wanderers and FNB Kudus both posted hard-fought victories in the Namibian Rugby Premier League over the weekend to close in on FNB Unam at the top of the log. 

At Trustco United Park, Wanderers won their annual derby after subduing Trustco United 31-15 in a tough encounter. 

Both sides were clearly motivated for the match and came out attacking from the start. Wanderers flyhalf Andre van der Berg squandered a few early penalty attempts and United made them pay as they took the lead with a great counter-attacking try which was rounded off by their hooker Eloff du Plessis. Another try by left wing Jandre Esterhuysen who intercepted and ran the length of the pitch put United 10-0 ahead, but Wanderers, led by their powerful forwards, came back strongly.

Van der Berg opened their account with a try after centre Natie Janse van Rensburg cut through the backline, while hooker Obert Nortje put them ahead for the first time when he crashed over in the left hand corner. 

With momentum on their side, Wanderers continued to attack and lock Brendan Nortje rounded off a great counter-attack from their own line with a try under the posts, and with Van der Berg adding the conversion they went 19-10 ahead. 

Just before the half time break Nortje crashed over for his second try and with Van der Berg once again converting they went into the break well in control with a 26-10 lead.

United struckback with a great try early in the second half, initiated by their tricky flyhalf Hanreco van Zyl who sent scrumhalf Jahno du Plessis away with a superb backhand pass, to reduce the deficit to 26-15, but that was the last time they managed to breach Wanderers’ defence. 

Both teams defended courageously and put in some big tackles in the final stages before Nortje capped a fine display with his third try to seal a convincing win for Wanderers.

That saw Wanderers moving up to 21 points in third place to narrow the gap on log leaders Unam, who were not in action, to five points. 

FNB Kudus, meanwhile, went second on the log on 24 points after a dramatic 27-26 victory away to FNB Grootfontein. 

Grootfontein outscored Kudus by four tries to three, but their goalkicking let them down as Kudus sneaked home by a point. 

For Kudus, centre Justin Newman scored two tries and substitute forward Anele Solomons one, while flyhalf Kyle Wentzel added two penalties and substitute back Diago Julies three conversions.

For Grootfontein, hooker Wicus Jacobs scored two tries, and flyhalf Dhaamin Bassardien and prop Bernd Beddies one each, while substitute back Siegfried Potgieter added two penalties. 

That left Grootfontein in fourth position on the log on 16 points, while FNB Rehoboth moved up to fifth on 11 points after beating Western Suburbs 40-19 at Rehoboth. 

Rehoboth scored six tries through right wing Dolano Vries, centre Brandon Dentlinger, scrumhalf Miquel Busch, flanker Ray-Eez Feris, lock Chase Diergaardt and hooker Jeandre Cloete, while centre Henrique Olivier added five conversions. 

Flyhalf Justin Nel scored all Suburbs’ points with three tries and two conversions.

In the women’s league, United moved up to second position on the log on 16 points after beating Wanderers 24-10.

United lock Vasti Gaya opened their account when she crashed over for a try, but Wanderers were soon level when flyhalf Mandie van Staden dotted down. 

United regained their lead when left wing Richardine Gaya turned on the speed to go over in the corner, but Wanderers once again pulled level when lock Astrid van Lill crashed over. 

United, however, pulled away with two tries by scrumhalf Mbitjita Matuzee and a penalty try to seal their victory. 

It was Wanderers’ second successive defeat, while Unam are still well ahead at the top of the log on 30 points from five matches.

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