At the beginning of a gripping day, the Namibians were outside hopefuls at best to qualify for the RWC, but Zimbabwe’s 28-10 win against Kenya, denying the Kenyan’s a losing bonus point, while failing to secure a bonus point of their own, left the door ajar for the seasoned Rugby World Cup campaigners.
Namibia, going into the final day of the 2014 C.A.R Division 1A Champions in Antananaravivo, 3rd on the log ran out on the field and knew they had to win Madagascar with a bonus point by scoring more than 4 tries and have a points difference in the match of 53 points.
Determined to finish the tournament in first place, Namibia demolished Madagascar 89-10 which saw them book a fifth successive place at the RWC and also be crowned African Champions 2014.
As the dust settled in Antananarivo, Zimbabwe emerged as the team who will progress to the Repechage where they will play Russia for a place in the Repechage Final.
The results also broke Kenyan hearts. Kenya looked certain to progress at least to the Repechage at the beginning of the day, having defeated Namibia earlier in the round-robin competition, but were left to rue what might have been.
At the end, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Kenya all finished on 10 points, but Namibia claimed the title by virtue of having a superior points difference (+76 compared to Zimbabwe +49 and Kenya +23). CAR President Aziz Bougja pointed to the strides that African nations are making on the world stage. He said: “We have witnessed one of the most compelling, and certainly the most dramatic African Cups of recent times, which really does underscore the continued progress that our Unions are making.
The CEO of the Namibia Rugby Union, Sybrand de Beer had the following to say: “It is indeed a huge achievement to qualify for the RWC, but the way the guys did it today was outstanding. After losing the first game and winning the second game without a bonus point, we had to hope Zimbabwe win Kenya and no one score any bonus points in their match on the final day.
That happened and we still had a chance to qualify for the RWC if we were able to beat Madagascar by earning a bonus point and have a points difference of 53 points. Before the match this almost seemed impossible to do for most people, but the team climbed in and played like a team that wanted to qualify for the RWC and make their country proud.
They achieved the goal before the first 40 minutes of play by leading 63-0 at halftime. That is a sign of the character of the team and exclaim the enormous talent we have in this team. I am a very proud man today and want to thank all the support the team and NRU received from the sponsors, spectators, government, SARU and the IRB.
This was a team effort and everyone played a part. Lastly but most important, I want to thank our heavenly Father for the way He helped us this week. A lot of people prayed non stop this week and He once again did not let us down. All glory to Him.”