By Rhys Thomas
September 27 2011
Wales were looking for a big win against the African minnows. Could Wales put Namibia to the sword?
Wales did the necessary, and more - despite a disappointing first half.
Stephen Jones won his 101st cap, and the first of this tournament. He got the first points on the scoreboard with an early penalty from a scrum. Then came the first try, Halfpenny put Scott Williams into space past two defenders and the young Scarlet raced down the wing to get his first try.
Aled Brew added another try soon after, taking a pop-pass from Lee Byrne. Toby Faletau also got a try, after taking the ball from a Ryan Jones tap penalty. Unfortunately Wales did not score again in the first half, and Namibian fly-half Theuns Koetze missed a penalty, so at the break the score was 22-0 to Wales.
After a strong talking to by the Welsh management, the men in black came out with a new vigour. Five minutes after, Scott Williams got his second of the night, squirming through the Namibian defence and diving over near the posts. Gethin Jenkins then scored a great solo try, receiving the ball around thirty metres out, then proceeding to dodge one tackler, dummy another, speed through the defence and go over the line with three defenders hanging off him. An excellent try and one the props will enjoy.
Namibia then got really what was only a consolation try. Number 10 Jones threw out a pass that was intercepted, and the ball was offloaded to second row Heinz Koll, who just about managed to score the try despite Lloyd Burns’ best efforts. The score was converted and that took the score to 36-7. Wales still had a lot more left in the tank.
Substitute George North got the next try, splitting the defence open to touch down, and becoming the youngest ever player to score in a World Cup. North made the next try for Jonathan Davies, running straight through the Namibian defence to give the centre to the score.
The North Walian scored again, running an angle off Lee Byrne to take the score to 57-7. Scott Williams scored his third try, for a memorable hat trick. Andy Powell linked up with Lloyd Williams to put the replacement scrum-half over in the corner for another try. Lee Byrne gets a try of his own after an adventurous cross field kick from Rhys Priestland inside his own half. Alun-Wyn Jones scored the final and twelth try of the game, taking the final score to 81-7. Stephen Jones kicked six conversions, and Priestland got three.
Overall, this was a very pleasing game. Twelve tries, nine conversions, and a very comfortable win. This was very close to South Africa’s winning scoreline of 87-0, so it shows that we have to turn the screw in these games and not be content with a lower score against the “minnows”. One large area of concern was the second quarter of the match. We had gone 22-0 up, and we should’ve secured the bonus point in the remainder of the first half, but didn’t. It needed stern words from the coaches for the team to get into gear, but that shouldn’t have needed to happen. All in all, I’m happy with the win, but it could have potentially been an even bigger winning margin.