Namibia and Zimbabwe will once again meet in the CAR (Confederation of African Rugby) Under 19 Championship final for the right to represent the region at next year’s IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy.
The Namibians had to come from behind in last year’s final to beat Zimbabwe 16-13 and if they can repeat that victory on Monday then they will have beaten the same opponents to claim the title for the third year in succession.
Namibia, who finished fifth at the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy in Nairobi earlier this year, booked their place in the final with a 29-3 defeat of hosts Kenya at the Rugby Football Union of East Africa Grounds on Friday, while Zimbabwe overcame Tunisia 24-12.
Kenya had been hoping to avenge a heart-breaking 22-17 loss in the Junior World Rugby Trophy pool stages, but while Namibia had needed a last gasp try to win on that occasion they were more convincing victories this time around.
Second half key for Zimbabwe
Wings Russel van Wyk and Richard Ockhuizen both scored tries to give Namibia a 12-3 advantage at half time and when the former crossed early in the second half Kenya’s hopes of mounting a comeback all but ended.
Andre de Klerk, the second row who played in the Junior World Rugby Trophy and then a month later became the first schoolboy to be capped by Namibia’s senior side in their Rugby World Cup qualifier against Ivory Coast in June, scored the game’s only other try.
Zimbabwe had to negotiate a tighter affair and only emerged victorious after a run of 14 unanswered points in the second half, Terrence Kuvagrega scoring a try with Danny Robertson kicking a drop goal and Farai Mupasiri two penalties.
They had earlier enjoyed the perfect start with centre Danteni Mama’s try and Mupasiri’s penalty giving Zimbabwe a 10-0 lead inside eight minutes. However Tunisia had cut that deficit to just three within as many minutes after wing Chedli Jabri’s try.
Neither side could add to their scores in the remainder of the first half, but Tunisia secured the dream start after the interval with their other wing Issam Duarhani touching down to give his side the lead for the first – and only – time in the match following Zimbabwe’s recovery.
Big improvement for Zambia
Kenya and Tunisia must now regroup to contest third place in the eight-team tournament, while Morocco and Uganda will meet in the fifth place play-off on Monday after overcoming Zambia and a Kenya Select side respectively.
Morocco, upset by hosts Kenya on day one, had found themselves 8-0 down against Zambia after the opening quarter, but second half tries from Hakim el Dhartani, Karim Rodriguez, Azeddine Abid and Mourad El Mouss saw them run out 34-11 winners.
"Morocco is a big team with a very good structure," said Zambia coach Phil Dongo, whose side had lost 85-0 to Namibia on day one. "They are also very big physically which played a big role in the win. I am pleased with the way we held up in the first half and that must have taken so much from the boys in the first half."
The Ugandans ran out 24-10 winners over the Kenya Select, who had stepped in following Ivory Coast's withdrawal. Joseph Nsubuga and Justin Kimond's tries gave Uganda a 10-3 half time lead.
Kenya Select levelled the scores within two minutes of the restart following Oscar Ayodi's try, but there was to be no comeback victory with prop Samuel Barongo and then Kimond touching down to seal Uganda's win.
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