Welwitschias book their place in France next year with a 36-0 win over Kenya


Namibia qualify for Rugby World Cup 2023

A hat-trick from Wian Conradie helped Namibia qualify for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

They beat Kenya 36-0 at Stade Maurice David in Aix-en-Provence, France, to win the Rugby Africa Cup and they will go into Pool A at next year’s tournament, where they will play hosts France as well as Italy, New Zealand and Uruguay.

Having first played in the tournament in 1999, this will be a seventh successive World Cup for the Welwitschias, who are coached by former South Africa boss Allister Coetzee.

They made it through to the Rugby Africa Cup final with a 71-5 win over Burkina Faso and a 34-19 triumph over Zimbabwe while Kenya beat Uganda (42-7) and Algeria (36-33).

Ranked 24th in the World Rugby Rankings going into the match, Namibia were favourites to qualify but it took them a while to get points on the board against Kenya (33rd).

Their first try came in the 17th minute and was created by Torsten van Jaarsveld. The hooker broke through the Kenyan defence, linked with Damian Stevens and then took a return pass before releasing Conradie, who went over in the corner.

Cliven Loubser missed the conversion but added a penalty soon after to make it 10-0.

Divan Rossouw looked destined to score their second when he launched a counter-attack but he was hauled down by John Okoth a metre from the line.

Namibia were awarded a five-metre scrum after the Simbas took the ball over the try-line and following a burst off the base from Adriaan Booysen, Conradie powered over from close range for his second.

Namibia qualify for Rugby World Cup

Wian Conradie scores his second try in the Rugby Africa Cup final (AFP/Getty Images)

It was 15-0 at half-time and three further Loubser penalties had extended that lead as the game headed into the final ten minutes. They could have scored further tries before then but their own errors proved costly – a knock-on here, a pass into touch there.

They did enjoy a final flurry, though, with two tries in the last two minutes. First Conradie crossed to complete his hat-trick following a series of quick rucks close to the Kenyan line, then captain Johan Deysel powered over after a quick tap penalty. It gave the scoreline a commanding look.

Kenya had been hoping to qualify for their first World Cup but were unable to get a foothold in the game due to their own inaccuracy. An overcooked kick to touch from a penalty as the match approached the hour mark summed things up somewhat.

Still that France 2023 dream is not over yet as Kenya go through to November’s Final Qualification Tournament, which will feature Portugal as well as the losers of Chile v USA and Tonga v Hong Kong. The winner of that tournament will go into Pool D at the World Cup alongside Australia, Fiji, Georgia and Wales.

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