Uruguay fight back from 14 points down to claim bonus-point success over Namibia

Planet Rugby
Uruguay scrum-half Santiago Arata scores against Namibia.

Uruguay scrum-half Santiago Arata scores against Namibia.

Uruguay fought back from a 14-point deficit to overcome Namibia and claim their first victory of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, winning 36-26 in Lyon on Wednesday.

The win puts the South Americans level on points with New Zealand in Pool A, who they face next Thursday, although the All Blacks have a game in hand.

Baltazar Amaya (2), German Kessler, Santiago Arata and Bautista Basso tries helped Uruguay to the bonus-point as they continue to star at the World Cup.

Felipe Etcheverry contributed to the scoreboard with three conversions while Felipe Berchesi added five points of his own through a penalty and conversion.

Namibia’s try scorers were wings Gerswin Mouton and JC Greyling, with fly-half Tiaan Swanepoel kicking 16 points via two conversions and four penalties.

Click here for scorers

Namibia, playing their fourth and final Pool A game in 18 days, led 20-12 at half-time but were punished for ill-discipline as their winless run at six World Cups was extended to 26 matches.

The Africans’ prop Johan Coetzee, captain Tjiuee Uanivi and replacement Desiderius Sethie were all yellow carded for high tackles, with the latter’s upgraded to red, and Uruguay cruised to their fourth World Cup win.

Namibia had lost heavily in all three of their previous group games, against Italy, New Zealand and France – but they made a flying start.

Wingers Mouton and Greyling both went over in the corner for early converted tries to give the Africans a 14-0 lead.

Uruguay, who had given France a tough test in a 27-12 opening defeat and led Italy 17-7 at half-time before losing 38-17, responded through Amaya’s close-range try.

After Swanepoel’s penalty, Uruguay cut the deficit to 17-12 in the 28th minute as hooker Kessler touched down after a driving maul from a lineout.

Swanepoel landed his second penalty to extend Namibia’s lead to 20-12 at half-time and a third at the start of the second period made it 23-12.

But Uruguay poured on the pressure and after Namibia prop Coetzee had been shown a yellow card, Amaya produced a brilliant finish in the corner for his second try.

Etcheverry converted and the gap was closed to four points at 23-19 and Uruguay took the lead for the first time in the match in the 54th minute through scrum-half Arata’s superb solo effort, which was also converted.

Namibia skipper Uanivi was shown a yellow card for a high tackle with 18 minutes left and within a minute his side were down to 13 men when replacement prop Sethie was sin-binned for the same offence.

The latter’s was later confirmed as a red card and Uruguay punished them further as another converted try from winger Basso put them 33-23 ahead.

Swanepoel and Berchesi swapped penalties to make it 36-26 before Uruguay replacement Eric Dosantos was sin-binned for a high tackle in the closing stages.

The teams

Uruguay: 15 Baltazar Amaya, 14 Bautista Basso, 13 Felipe Arcos Perez, 12 Andres Vilaseca (c), 11 Nicolas Freitas, 10 Felipe Etcheverry, 9 Santiago Arata, 8 Carlos Deus, 7 Santiago Civetta, 6 Manuel Ardao, 5 Manuel Leindekar, 4 Felipe Aliaga, 3 Diego Arbelo, 2 German Kessler, 1 Mateo Sanguinetti
Replacements: 16 Guillermo Pujadas, 17 Facundo Gattas, 18 Reinaldo Piussi, 19 Juan Manuel Rodríguez, 20 Eric Dosantos, 21 Agustin Ormaechea, 22 Felipe Berchesi, 23 Juan Manuel Alonso

Namibia: 15 Cliven Loubser, 14 Gerswin Mouton, 13 Alcino Izaacs, 12 Danco Burger, 11 JC Greyling, 10 Tiaan Swanepoel, 9 Damian Stevens, 8 Richard Hardwick, 7 Tjiuee Uanivi (c), 6 Prince Gaoseb, 5 Tiaan de Klerk, 4 Adriaan Ludick, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Jason Benade
Replacements: 16 Louis van der Westhuizen, 17 Desiderius Sethie, 18 Haitembu Shifuka, 19 PJ Van Lill, 20 Max Katjijeko, 21 Adriaan Booysen, 22 Jacques Theron, 23 Andre van der Bergh

Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant Referees: Nic Berry (Australia), Chris Busby (Ireland)
TMO: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)

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