Tense club rugby final expected

22 October 2021 | Sports

Andrew Poolman



WINDHOEK

The strong rivalry between FNB University of Namibia (Unam) and FNB Wanderers will be at the forefront when the two rugby clubs contest the Namibia Rugby Union (NRU) premier league title at the Hage Geingob Stadium tomorrow.

Wanderers, currently celebrating its centenary which went largely unnoticed last year due to Covid-19, has had a somewhat erratic season – losing twice against FNB Rehoboth and FNB Reho Falcon.

However, following the resumption after the pandemic’s third wave, Wanderers has benefitted from the return of a number of stalwarts – including overseas professional Obert Nortje – and has arguably been the form team since.

A mere three weeks have passed since coach Rohan Kitshoff’s team handed Unam their only defeat of the season, winning 27-25 at the Unam Stadium.

Even though hooker Nortje has been ruled out of the final with a hamstring injury and honeymoon, the odds could still be in Wanderers’ favour, considering the role their influx of experience from the likes of Christo van der Merwe (captain), JC Greyling, Thomasau Forbes and Darryl de la Harpe has played over the last few weeks.

Victim of success

Unam, under the shrewd coaching of Johan Diergaardt, may in some ways have been a victim of their own success – conceding top talent such as Prince !Gaoseb and Max Katjijeko to clubs in Israel and Spain respectively, as well as Peter Diergaardt who took an opportunity in Czech Republic.

The student team – champions in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and runners-up in 2019 – will also have to replace the injured captain, flanker Cameron Langenhoven (shoulder), as well as both their first-team hookers Shaun van Wyk (shoulder) and Bigman Kaura (family commitment).

A very tense and entertaining final could still be expected between Unam and Wanderers, who won their respective home semi-finals by close margins against FNB Rehoboth (27-24) and FNB Western Suburbs (20-13) last weekend.

The main match, which will kick off at 16:30, will be preceded by the NRU first league final - FNB UNAM III vs Sparta from Walvis Bay - at 12:00, as well as the NRU reserve league final, which will see FNB Wanderers II and FNB Kudus II battling it out at 14:15. All matches will be broadcast live on Republikein’s Facebook page.

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