South Africa demolished their African neighbours in a game that felt like a training run at times


2019 Rugby World Cup: South Africa 57-3 Namibia


Played – 3

South Africa wins – 3

Namibia wins – 0

Most recent meeting – South Africa 87-0 Namibia (22 September 2011)

South Africa ran in 12 tries in their last encounter eight years ago at the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Did You Know?

  • Rudie van Vuuren played for Namibia in both the rugby and cricket World Cups in 2003. He’s now the personal physician to the country’s president.

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In a nutshell

It was an avalanche of tries for South Africa and there were some opportunities left unconverted too, but it was job done following the loss to New Zealand. It often felt like a training match but the Boks scored nine and came out largely unscathed.

It was 31-3 at half-time, with the physically superior South Africans scoring at a rate of a point-a-minute in the first quarter. The Welwitschias were not helped by a yellow card for No 8 Adriaan Booysen’s deliberate knock-down after 16 minutes – at a time when it was already clear the Namibian scrum was getting marmalised – and then Johannes Coetzee’s yellow in the final quarter for an off-the-ball shoulder on Schalk Brits at the back of a fluffed lineout.

More so than this, though, there was no risk here for South Africa. They did not take any tap and goes as Namibian penalties pile up; they would go for drives regularly. Elton Jantjies would drop ball but they knew they would get it back soon. There were lots of one-out runners from the Boks.

Namibia gave it their all, and this was epitomes by big hits flying in throughout the second half, but they could barely stem the tide.

2019 Rugby World Cup: South Africa v Namibia

Contest in the lineout: Tjiuee Uanivi catches the ball (Getty Images)

There are a few positions up for grabs in the Springboks’ strongest side, and  back-three star Makizole Mapimpi may have a bit more skip in his step in the next day’s training after scoring a brace here, while any of the locks from today will be primed for the tougher Test against Italy on Friday.

You could say the gap is getting smaller every four years for Namibia. However, they barely laid a glove on South Africa in attack and it was a routine outing for the Bok pack.

Hooker Bongi Mbonambi got a brace through pack power, with Francois Louw and Schalk Brits also dotting down from driving mauls. Amongst those nine scores was that double for Mapimpi and dots for Lukhanyo Am, Warrick Gelant and substitute Siya Kolisi. These felt inevitable, such was the team’s momentum.

It wasn’t enthralling or different and head coach Rassie Erasmus may not have found out too much new about his second-string stars. Maybe he will have to mix a few more into his side to face Italy.

And next up for Namibia? Ah… it’s the All Blacks after a sizeable rest. Bar bringing in hard and willing workers like Janco Venter and Johan Deysel (who scored against NZ in 2015) is there much more they can do to prepare for the world’s No 1 side? With Canada the game they are likely targeting, maybe they won’t be willing to put such players in the line of fire in any case.

Star man

By the time Makizole Mapimpi got his second try, he reached the milestone of scoring his tenth try in ten Tests. A staggering return for a lethal finisher. All game he looked like he could burn away from defenders with barely a few metres of space on the touchline.

However, this was a match where experienced heads had to work incredibly hard to hold the side together, trying to force a little bit of shape onto a game that could have completely fallen apart at the seams, given the physical mismatch. It did not always work and South Africa were wasteful at times, but it was enough.

Lood de Jager was the official man of the match, and had RG Snyman stayed on, it could have been him too, but it was Francois Louw and Schalk Brits who were the wise old heads directing operations.

Their pack was monstrous and the back-three players had such a platform to play because of the power within the forwards.

There was scope for a look at lock Franco Mostert coming on in the back row – and of course Brits began the game at No 8 – but in a match you are expected to conquer at a stroll, it’s key to not play like headless chickens, even when team-mates are queueing up to score.

Related: Rugby World Cup TV Coverage

The Reaction

Phil Davies – Namibia head coach

“We came in with a lot of courage, a little bit of flair at times. I’m very proud of the players, playing against South Africa for 20 minutes with 14 men as well. It’s a good sort of boost for the players to go into the next game.”

“I think it’s just again as I say, having the courage, the flair to keep going. And when we have the ball is to keep holding it. We made a couple of turnovers and we sort of kick that away quite quickly.

“So it’s just a case of trying to keep the ball and build pressure. But they’re a great side, we were under a lot of pressure in the breakdowns. So, you know, I think sometimes the kick was maybe the easiest option, but we’ll build on it, we’ve got a lot to build on and lots to fix. But we’re very proud of the effort and the commitment and kept them to under 60 points, which is pleasing in some ways.”

Rassie Erasmus – South Africa head coach

“We wanted to win so we stuck to the plan. I know Namibia is probably targeting the Canada game so they rested a few players. So we won’t read too much into the score but we got the five points which are important.

“When you lose a game like the previous game (against New Zealand), you want to get some winning momentum back and the South African team, we have some certain things we like to get back to and I thought we did do that today. So we’ll build from this, now we’ve got this big Italy game, which probably will determine if we go to the quarter-finals or not and I think this game will give us a nice springboard to get into that game.”

The Teams

South Africa: Warrick Gelant; Sbu Nkosi, Lukhanyo Am (Damian de Allende 55), Frans Steyn, Makazole Mapimpi, Elton Jantjies, Herschel Jantjies (Cobus Reinach 56); Tendai Mtawarira (Steven Kitshoff 70), Bongi Mbonambi (Franco Mostert 63), Vincent Koch (Thomas du Toit 45), RG Snyman (Eben Etzebeth 58),  Lood de Jager, Francois Louw, Kwagga Smith (Siya Kolisi 53), Schalk Brits (captain).

Reserves: Cheslin Kolbe.

Tries: Mbonambi 10, 18, Louw 14, Mapimpi 27, 53, Am 40, Gelant 47, Kolisi 59, Brits 64. Cons: E Jantjies 11, 19, 40, 48, 54, 65.

Namibia: Johan Tromp; Chad Plato (Helarius Kisting 77), JC Greyling, PJ Walters (Johan Deysel 49), Lesley Klim, Cliven Loubser, Eugene Jantjies; Desiderius Sethie (Andre Rademeyer 49), Louis van der Westhuizen (Obert Nortje 75), AJ De Klerk (Johannes Coetzee 49), Johan Retief, Tjiuee Uanivi (captain), Thomasau Forbes (Wian Conradie 49), Muharua Katjijeko, Adriaan Booysen (Janco Venter 49).

Reserves: , Prince Gaoseb.

Pens: Loubser 24.

Yellow card: Booysen 16, Coetzee 64.

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