Rugby Gold Cup: Massive win for Namibia

Former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Defending champions Namibia were the big winners on the opening day of the Rugby Africa Gold Cup 2018; their 55-6 defeat of Uganda in Windhoek comfortably putting them in pole position in the race to qualify as Africa 1 for Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan.

The nine-try Namibians, chasing a sixth successive qualification for the World Cup and a spot in Pool B alongside defending champions New Zealand, South Africa, Italy and the repechage winner, stole a big round one march on Zimbabwe, the 1987 and 1991 qualifiers who were held to a 23-23 draw by Morocco in Harare.

Zimbabwe spurned the chance to clinch the win in former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers' first game in charge after missing a last-gasp penalty, an error that left Phil Davies' impressive, bonus-point earning Namibia three points clear in the standings after the first weekend of matches.

Bidding for an unprecedented fifth consecutive title, Namibia next host Tunisia in round two next Saturday, the same day rivals Kenya open their campaign away to Morocco in Casablanca.