x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

A Welsh dozen ends Namibia's Rugby World Cup

Scott Williams scores a hat-trick of tries in an 81-7 win for Wales which ensures Namibia are the first team eliminated in New Zealand.

Stephen Jones, the Wales fly-half, centre, passed the 900-point barrier in his 101st Test.
Stephen Jones, the Wales fly-half, centre, passed the 900-point barrier in his 101st Test.

NEW PLYMOUTH, NEW ZEALAND // Scott Williams scored a hat-trick of tries in an 81-7 win for Wales which ensured Namibia are the first team eliminated from the Rugby World Cup.

Playing his national record 101st Test, Stephen Jones, the Welsh fly-half, opened the scoring with a penalty and centre Williams crossed in the eighth minute — the first of 12 Welsh tries.

"We got the bonus point which is what we wanted. Namibia made it very tough for us, especially at the contact area," Sam Warburton, the Wales captain, said.

"The game broke up in the second half. The boys showed their skills and we got 12 tries, which will be important for points difference at the end of the group."

Wales took a 36-0 lead when Gethin Jenkins, the prop, threw a dummy to slice through the defensive line and then sprinted up field before barging his way over the line.

Namibian locks Nico Esterhuyse and Heinz Koll combined almost immediately after for a long-range try sparked from an interception in the 53rd which delighted the Stadium Taranaki crowd.

The predominantly amateur Namibia team finished with four heavy defeats in 14 days, including an 87-0 loss to the defending champion South Africa last week.

Wales, who opened with a one-point defeat to South Africa, edges into second spot in Pool D with wins over Samoa and Namibia with a match remaining against Fiji.

Jones finished with six conversions and a penalty, which helped him pass 900 career Test points, before he was replaced by Rhys Priestland.

The Welsh led 22-0 at half time, but had difficulty at times against the combative Namibians, who did not concede a point during a 30-minute period until fatigue set in. The 42 missed tackles cost Namibia dearly, with Wales running in tries almost at will in the final 20 minutes.

"That's why they're a top-class team. They just blew us away and we couldn't stop them," Jacques Burger, the Namibia captain said, who is one of the few professional players in the squad. "We played against a really good side and played a game four days ago against the Springboks, so it was tough.

"But we're not making excuses. We weren't good enough today. it's the end of the World Cup for us."