Namibia turn on style in fightback
BORDEAUX, 9 September - Adventurous forward play saw Namibia pull back a 20-3 half-time deficit in the Pool D match against Ireland at the Chaban-Delmas Stadium, Sunday.
Inspired attacking surges by the Africans put Jacques Nieuwenhuis and Piet van Zyl across for quick-fire tries, before Ireland restored respectability to make it 32-17 at the death.
Eight minutes after the restart, Ireland seemed to be cruising towards a big score. They were awarded a penalty try for repeated infringements by Namibia in their own 22, Ronan O'Gara hitting over the routine conversion to make it 27-3.
Namibia then crashed wave after wave of attacks against the Irish defence. On 59 minutes, a sweeping passing move saw Ryan Witbooi break through and hand off in the tackle to Nieuwenhuis, who joyfully dived over the line. Emile Wessels sent the crowd into raptures, converting to put Namibia within 17 points of Ireland.
Just two minutes later, the inspired Namibians had another try. A charge down the left saw centre van Zyl keep Heini Bock's dink in play, kicking it on and flying through to touch down. Wessels converted again to put Namibia within 10 points.
With five minutes left, Ireland finally strung some meaningful passes together, allowing Jerry Flannery to just touch down in the corner. O'Gara continued his poor kicking with another missed conversion.
The first half saw Ireland build a comfortable lead, rarely leaving their opponents' half and being denied a greater score only by some poor handling and wayward kicking.
Irish full back Girvan Dempsey charged down the wing three minutes into the match and from the breakdown scrum half Peter Stringer fed captain Brian O'Driscoll, who chipped over the defence and touched down despite the attentions of Tertius Losper.
On 18 minutes, O'Gara took a tap and punted crossfield to Andrew Trimble for a simple five points. O'Gara missed the conversion, before Simon Easterby popped another try out of the ruck. O'Gara skewed the conversion well wide.
Wessels converted a late penalty for Namibia just before the break, but it was the second half that saw the underdogs explode into life.