Namibia have booked their place in the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy 2015 after beating Kenya 52-17 in the final of the Confédération Africaine de Rugby (CAR) Under 19 Championship in Windhoek.
The victory caps a golden six-week period for Namibian Rugby after the senior team, the Welwitchias, also qualified for the 2015 Rugby World Cup in July.
Captain and fly half Christopher Arries scored the first of eight Namibian tries after just two minutes and with wing Milaan van Wyk crossing twice in the space of seven minutes the tournament hosts built a commanding 35-10 lead at the break. The Kenyans rallied in the second half and added one more to their two first half tries but the Namibians' power proved the difference as they scored three more for a comfortable victory.
“It is good to get the result in the final against Kenya on home soil. I am not too chuffed about our second half performance, especially after losing our captain which is a concern for us,” said Namibia coach Roger Thompson, who was also a member of the senior team’s coaching staff that guided the country to RWC 2015 qualification in Madagascar.
In the build-up to the final the senior team played a major part in inspiring their young compatriots and the Under 19 side was allowed to use the senior team’s dressing room for the first time, while a number of senior players interacted with the players on a personal basis ahead of the final.
“The senior side was very inspirational. We would all like to play for the senior team one day, and that will hopefully happen in the near future,” said Arries, who was injured after 30 minutes of the game.
Zimbabwe overcame Tunisia 44-26 in the third place play-off to retain their position in the top tier of African junior rugby.
In being crowned African champions Namibia join hosts Portugal, Oceania representatives Tonga and the side relegated from the IRB Junior World Championship 2014, Fiji, as the teams already confirmed in the Trophy draw in 2015.
The other four places will be taken by the regional qualifiers from Asia, South America, North America and Europe, all of which are set to take place over the coming months.
Uganda win African promotion
In losing to Zimbabwe, Tunisia are relegated to Division B in 2015 with their place taken by Uganda, who beat Madagascar 17-8 to top the second tier and gain promotion. Senegal beat Zambia 15-0 to finish third.
Namibia and Kenya had reached the final with contrasting victories, the hosts running in 12 tries in a dominant 78-3 victory over Tunisia with Jakob Breedt scoring a hat-trick and Guilliano Lawrence dotting down twice.
Kenya, meanwhile, established a 27-5 lead over Zimbabwe but had to endure a nervous end to the match as their opponents cut the deficit to just seven points with two Shepherd Mhembere tries, but they held on.
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