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Three players carded for high tackles as Uruguay overcome Namibia

Uruguay pulled away from Namibia in the second half
Uruguay pulled away from Namibia in the second half - Shutterstock/GUILLAUME HORCAJUELO

Uruguay overcame a first-half scare to deny Namibia a first-ever Rugby World Cup victory in Lyon, after the Welwitschias’s discipline fell apart in the second half with one red and two yellow cards.

Following Le Roux Malan’s brutal leg injury and a six-week ban for captain Johan Deysel after his illegal tackle on Antoine Dupont, Namibia this week also had to deal with the loss of Johan Retief after he was bitten by a spider at the team’s hotel.

Yet they led after 59 seconds, Gerswin Mouton pouncing on a loose pass from Santiago Arata to run in a try from his own half, and soon built on an excellent start through JC Greyling’s score in the corner. Richard Hardwick’s final pass looked suspicious but was checked and cleared, giving Namibia a morale-boosting 14-0 lead.

Uruguay’s strong scrum offered them a route back into the contest, with full-back Baltazar Amaya sneaking over to score after the pack’s hard work. Careless mistakes in their own half hurt Uruguay, with Tiaan Swanepoel adding a penalty, only for Uruguay to respond through their maul and a try for German Kessler.

French referee Mathieu Raynal shows a red card to Namibia's prop Desiderius Sethie (unseen) during the France 2023 Rugby World Cup Pool A match between Uruguay and Namibia at OL Stadium in Lyon, south-eastern France, on September 27, 2023
Mathieu Raynal issued a red card to Des Sethie after his yellow card for a high tackle was upgraded - Getty Images/SEBASTIEN BOZON

Swanepoel’s accuracy off the tee kept Namibia moving clear on the scoreboard, though, adding a penalty either side of half-time as Namibia began to dream.

Uruguay’s scrum pressure was unrelenting, however, with Namibia tighthead Johan Coetzee sent to the sin-bin after multiple penalties. A diving finish from Amaya in the corner for his second try closed the gap, before Uruguay took the lead for the first time after 54 minutes, a weaving run to score by their best player in the Castres’ scrum-half Arata, followed by Felipe Etcheverry’s conversion, giving Uruguay a narrow advantage.

Namibia’s discipline then disappeared, with captain Tjiuee Uanivi and replacement prop Desiderius Sethie shown yellow cards for dangerous tackles. Sethie’s was upgraded to red by the bunker and Bautista Basso added Uruguay’s bonus-point try from a cross-field kick to seal their fourth-ever World Cup win.


Uruguay power to victory over plucky Namibia: as it happened


06:53 PM BST

WATCH: Three tackles, three cards

For all its entertainment, that match featured some fairly poor tackling by modern standards. High tackles were punished, with one resulting in a red card. World Rugby had said their stance on this issue is not changing so with this game in mind, the players are going to have to.


06:45 PM BST

Namibia come undone

With a lead at half-time the dream appeared possible for Namibia but growing fatigue and poor discipline really was their undoing.

Three yellow cards, one upgraded to a red. They only lost by ten points and may well look back on this as a real opportunity missed.


06:40 PM BST

Full time: URU 36 NAM 26

It’s all over...

Berchesi fires the ball into touch and Mathieu Raynla blows his whistle. Namibia fall to their knees but it’s elation for Uruguay.

Uruguay celebrate the victory over Namibia
Uruguay celebrate the victory over Namibia - Getty Images/SEBASTIEN BOZON

06:38 PM BST

79 mins: URU 36 NAM 26

Berchesi aims another cross kick, this time towards Amaya. The ball drops but kicks away from the Uruguay full-back and Namibia have a lineout inside their own 22.


06:35 PM BST

76 mins: URU 36 NAM 26

Louis van der Westhuizen charges through the Uruguay defence as he attempts to pull his side back into this. His offload finds PJ van Lill who then looks for an even harder offload but the ball is too sharp for Uanivi, who knocks on.


06:33 PM BST

ANOTHER YELLOW CARD

Uruguay’s Eric Dosantos is now sent to the sin-bin after an illegal high tackle. Another red card? Would be harsh but very possible.


06:32 PM BST

75 mins: URU 36 NAM 26

Perez does superbly to win an aerial contest against Mouton before Berchesi shows all his experience to push Namibia back inside their own 22.


06:29 PM BST

73 mins: URU 36 NAM 26

Hmmmm same old story for Namibia. Prince Gaoseb goes flying in off his feet and that’s a clear penalty. Berchesi has a chance to put this game beyond doubt.

He takes that chance and Uruguay have a ten-point lead.


06:27 PM BST

72 mins: URU 33 NAM 26

Uanivi rejoins the fray. If Namibia score next we could be in for a grandstand finish here. If that goes to Uruguay it will truly be game over. Uruguay break quickly after a smart turnover but then knock-on inside the Namibia 22.


06:24 PM BST

68 mins: URU 33 NAM 26

Vital penalty for Namibia after Uruguay fail to deal with the restart. Swanepoel nails the kick again to keep the trailing side in with a sniff.


06:22 PM BST

67 mins: URU 33 NAM 23

When it rains it pours...Sethie’s yellow card is upgraded to a red. Namibia will ends this game with 14 men.


06:20 PM BST

TRY URUGUAY!

This game looks to be over now.

Numbers tell for Uruguay as a huge overlap appears on the right. The ensuing cross kick from Berchesi finds Bautista Basso, who has the simplest of finishes.


06:16 PM BST

63 mins: URU 26 NAM 23

The first yellow card for Tjiuee Uanivi will remain just a yellow card so he’ll be rejoining us shortly.

I fear the same will not be the case for Des Sethie.


06:14 PM BST

63 mins: URU 26 NAM 23

15 against 13 now...it’s looking very, very tough for Namibia from here.


06:13 PM BST

Another check...

Namibia’s Des Sethie this time looks to have gone too high...

This one looks worse if possible. Yellow card for Sethie. The bunker are working overtime now.


06:11 PM BST

TMO speaking to Raynal

Tjiuee Uanivi looked to be high at a tackle there. The Uruguay player is lowering into him but they may not be enough.

It’s a yellow card for the Namibia captain and the bunker will be having a look.


06:08 PM BST

60 mins: URU 26 NAM 23

Namibia’s discipline at the breakdown is deserting them. Uruguay’s attack is going nowhere but they earn a penalty after Haitembu Shifuka flops over the breakdown.


06:06 PM BST

59 mins: URU 26 NAM 23

Oh that’s a crushing blow! Namibia make great progress through the phases but are then pinged by Raynal for sealing. Uruguay clear.


06:04 PM BST

57 mins: URU 26 NAM 23

Vital penalty earned by Namibia followed by an excellent Swanepoel kick. They score here you feel to regain the momentum or this game may just get away from them.

Santiago Arata runs to score a try during the France 2023 Rugby World Cup Pool A match between Uruguay and Namibia at OL Stadium in Lyon, south-eastern France, on September 27, 2023
Santiago Arata runs to score a try during the France 2023 Rugby World Cup Pool A match between Uruguay and Namibia at OL Stadium in Lyon, south-eastern France, on September 27, 2023

06:01 PM BST

55 mins: URU 26 NAM 23

Plenty going on in the last ten minutes and plenty for Namibia to do to get back into this.


06:00 PM BST

TRY URUGUAY!

Santiago Arata take a bow.

A Namibia attack ends with an Izaacs knock-on but Uruguay are far more clinical at the other end. Arata picks up a loose offload just inside the 10-metre line and scampers through at least three defenders to score under the posts.


05:55 PM BST

TRY URUGUAY!

They waste no time in making the most of the one-man advantage. Etcheverry goes hard to the blind side off the back of the scrum before feeding a late ball to Amaya.

He has plenty of work to do but the finish is out of this world. Leaping high and slamming the ball down with one hand amid heavy defensive attention from Namibia.


05:53 PM BST

YELLOW CARD

Uruguay pile the pressure on inside the Namibia 22. Santiago Arata carries hard into Swanepoel and soon Raynal is giving Uruguay advantage after Namibia creep offside.

His whistle blows and Uruguay take the scrum. ANOTHER PENALTY! Raynal is going to his pocket this time, it’s a yellow card Aranos Coetzee. Haitembu Shifuka is on to replace him in the front row.


05:49 PM BST

44 mins: URU 12 NAM 23

Uruguay punch back with a scrum penalty. Uruguay have been inaccurate so far but have held clear superiority over Namibia at the scrum. You feel that may prove crucial as this game wears on.


05:47 PM BST

42 mins: URU 12 NAM 23

Huge penalty early in the second half for Namibia. Amaya fumbles a high up-and-under backwards but Namibia are soon swarming, driving him back into the 22 before earning a penalty.

Swanepoel nails the three points and that takes the advantage to 11 points.


05:44 PM BST

We're underway..

Namibia go deep with the kick-off.


05:43 PM BST

Here come the teams...

Exciting second 40 minutes in store here. Genuine history on the line for Namibia.


05:30 PM BST

Half time: URU 12 NAM 20

Entertaining if a little scruffy. Namibia are 40 minutes away from an historic first win at the Rugby World Cup.


05:29 PM BST

39 mins: URU 12 NAM 20

Uruguay are the winners after an elongated session of kick tennis as they earn a penalty. Namibia do well again though, earning a turnover and pushing Uruguay back with a smart kick.

Namibia's openside flanker and captain Tjiuee Uanivi is tackled by Uruguay's scrum-half Santiago Arata
Namibia's openside flanker and captain Tjiuee Uanivi is tackled by Uruguay's scrum-half Santiago Arata - Getty Images/SEBASTIEN BOZON

05:26 PM BST

37 mins: URU 12 NAM 20

You guessed it...it’s time for another Uruguay error. Again they’re making ground, again they look dangerous and again an attack ends after a handling mistake.

This time it’s a forward pass. Uruguay are their own worst enemies at present.


05:23 PM BST

35 mins: URU 12 NAM 20

Penalty for Namibia. Hands on the floor from Perez and Swanepoel has the chance for an easy three points. He takes it and Namibia extend again.

Tiaan Swanepoel of Namibia kicks a conversion during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between Uruguay and Namibia at Parc Olympique on September 27, 2023 in Lyon, France
Tiaan Swanepoel has been accurate from the tee so far - Getty Images/Jan Kruger

05:21 PM BST

33 mins: URU 12 NAM 17

Uruguay must be tearing their hair out here despite the two tries. Their error count has been far too high and it’s in evidence again as they concede a soft penalty for incorrectly setting up a maul in an excellent attacking position.


05:18 PM BST

31 mins: URU 12 NAM 17

This has been rugby’s answer to basketball so far. Proper end-to-end stuff and quite frankly it’s been excellent.

Both sides are willing to throw the ball around and play at speed. Not always accurate but so far highly entertaining.


05:15 PM BST

TRY URUGUAY!

It’s textbook stuff from the lineout. Clean take and the maul is set up quickly. A couple of the backs come flying in to add some extra weight and it’s too much for Namibia to bear. Hooker German Kessler is the beneficiary and Uruguay cut into the lead once again.


05:14 PM BST

27 mins: URU 5 NAM 17

Breathless so far. A knock on from Hardwick from the kick-off puts Uruguay on the front foot. Civetta is put clean through but knocks on just in front of the posts.

Uruguay had advantage though...they go for the corner.


05:12 PM BST

24 mins: URU 5 NAM 17

Danco Burger carries hard into midfield off the back of that scrum and Raynal soon has his arm out for offside.

The whistle blows and Uanivi points to the posts immediately. Swanepoel slots it home and Namibia extend their lead.


05:09 PM BST

21 mins: URU 5 NAM 14

Uruguay react to that try in the worst possible way. More loose handling off the kick-off sees the ball run free inside their own 22. Knock-on and the initiative is back with Namibia.


05:07 PM BST

TRY URUGUAY!

The pressure tells. Solid carrying off the back of the scrum starts the sequence before more accurate handling and clean work at the breakdown creates the chance.

Baltazar Amaya crosses but Etcheverry misses the extras. Great start to this game.


05:05 PM BST

16 mins: URU 0 NAM 14

Back-to-back penalties at the scrum for Uruguay. Real pressure building on Namibia here.

They’re going for the scrum again. Another penalty and Mathieu Raynal will be getting very interested.


05:02 PM BST

16 mins: URU 0 NAM 14

Uruguay earn a much-needed penalty just inside their half. This is a decent platform to launch something. They keep it tight this time and make at least 15 metres with a rolling maul.

Etcheverry puts in a smart chip but Loubser does well to cover for Namibia with Nicolas Freitas bearing down. Five-metre scrum for Uruguay.


04:58 PM BST

13 mins: URU 0 NAM 14

Talk about being punched in the mouth. Can Uruguay respond?


04:56 PM BST

TRY NAMIBIA!

They’re in again! This time it’s JC Greyling..

Was just typing how well Namibia have started here and there’s more evidence right there. Smart handling from Richard Hardwick puts Greyling away and it’s an easy finish for the winger.

Swanepoel converts from an acute angle.


04:54 PM BST

7 mins: URU 0 NAM 7

Uruguay earn a penalty at the game’s first scrum and are able to clear their lines. But disappointment soon follows after yet another handling error after more neat work at the lineout.

Early evidence...this is going to be fast and loose.


04:50 PM BST

4 mins: URU 0 NAM 7

Uruguay are not being put off by that early error, still willing to sling it around early on. A hammering tackle from Namibia’s Tjiuee Uanivi draws a knock on to end the attack before Uruguay are pinged at the breakdown.


04:46 PM BST

TRY FOR NAMIBIA

Gerswin Mouton crosses inside two minutes!

Uruguay completes a neat long lineout by their handling lets them down in midfield. The ball bounces loose and is gladly picked up by Mouton, who races clear.

Tiaan Swanepoel converts.


04:45 PM BST

KICK OFF

Felipe Etcheverry gets us underway in front of a decent crowd in Lyon.


04:43 PM BST

A real contrast

Namibia’s anthem is a very considered bordering on serious piece and is sung with earnest gusto by the players.

In contrast, Uruguay’s is a bouncy number and is attacked as such. Several players tear up as the camera slides by.


04:40 PM BST

The teams emerge...

Anthems upcoming.


04:34 PM BST

One to watch..

There are several top-class back-row forwards strutting their stuff in France at present but one that might have escaped your attention is Uruguay’s Manuel Ardao.

He had five turnovers against Italy, to add to the three he grabbed in his side’s opening match against France.

Manuel Ardao of Uruguay during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between Italy and Uruguay at Stade de Nice on September 20, 2023 in Nice, France
Manuel Ardao has a been a beast on the floor so far in this World Cup - Getty Images/Michael Steele

04:25 PM BST

Pre-match preperations well underway

Namibia head coach Allister Coetzee looks on during the warm up before the match
Namibia head coach Allister Coetzee looks on during the warm up before the match
Mateo Sanguinetti of Uruguay warms up prior to the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between Uruguay and Namibia at Parc Olympique on September 27, 2023 in Lyon, France
Mateo Sanguinetti of Uruguay warms up prior to the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between Uruguay and Namibia at Parc Olympique on September 27, 2023 in Lyon, France
Felipe Etcheverry of Uruguay warms up prior tog the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between Uruguay and Namibia at Parc Olympique on September 27, 2023 in Lyon, France
Felipe Etcheverry of Uruguay warms up prior tog the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between Uruguay and Namibia at Parc Olympique on September 27, 2023 in Lyon, France
Namibia's Tjiuee Uanivi speaks to his teammates during the warm up before the match
Namibia's Tjiuee Uanivi speaks to his teammates during the warm up before the match

04:17 PM BST

World Cup expansion

I mentioned earlier that the Rugby World Cup could soon be expanding to 24 teams as well adopt a new pool-stage. Read more on that HERE in Ben Rumsby’s exclusive story.


04:11 PM BST

Watch: Uruguay's arrival


04:10 PM BST

A mighty winless run

Namibia’s first appearance at a Rugby World Cup came in 1999. SInce then they have appeared at every tournament, playing 25 matches and losing every one.

On paper, Uruguay are the clear favourites this afternoon but make no mistake, this will be the fixture Namibia have been focussing on since the draw for the tournament was made.

The closest they have come to breaking their World Cup duck was in 2015, when they were on the end of an agonising 16-15 loss to Georgia, and this is their best chance to do so since.


04:05 PM BST

Head-to-head

History is certainly in Uruguay’s favour ahead of this one. They have won four of the five previous meetings between the two sides, with their only loss coming in 2019.

Uruguay were 26-18 winners when the sides last met in a World Cup warm-up match in Montevideo in August.


04:01 PM BST

Watch: Namibia captain clatters Dupont

Johan Deysel, the Namibia captain, has received a six-match ban for his dangerous tackle on Antoine Dupont.

Here’s a reminder of what happened...


03:53 PM BST

Team news – Namibia

Namibia have rung the changes for this clash, the last of their campaign and a final chance to collect a first World Cup win in their history.

Tjiuee Uanivi will captain the side for a fifth time with regular captain Johan Deysel suspended after his dangerous tackle on Antoine Dupont.

15-Cliven Loubser
14-Gerswin Mouton
13-Alcino Izaacs
12-Danco Burger
11-JC Greyling
10-Tiaan Swanepoel
9-Damian Stevens
1-Jason Benade
2-Torsten van Jaarsveld
3-Aranos Coetzee
4-Adriaan Ludick
5-Tiaan de Klerk
6-Prince Gaoseb
7-Tjiuee Uanivi
8-Richard Hardwick

Replacements

16-Louis van der Westhuizen
17-Des Sethie
18-Haitembu Shifuka
19-PJ van Lill
20-Max Katjijeko
21-Adriaan Booysen
22-Jacques Theron
23-Andre van der Berg


03:49 PM BST

Team news – Uruguay

Uruguay make four changes from the side which lost to Italy in Nice last week.

Diego Arbelo replaces Ignacio Peculo in the front-row, Carlos Deus comes in for Manuel Diana in the back-row and Bautista Basso replaces Gaston Mieres on the right wing, while Felipe Arcos Perez will make his Rugby World Cup debut, replacing Tomas Inciarte in the centres.

15-Baltazar Amaya
14-Bautista Basso
13-Felipe Arcos Perez
12-Andres Vilaseca
11-Nicolas Freitas
10-Felipe Etcheverry
9-Santiago Arata
1-Mateo Sanguinetti
2-German Kessler
3-Diego Arbelo
4-Felipe Aliaga
5-Manuel Leindekar
6-Manuel Ardao
7-Santiago Civetta
8-Carlos Deus

Replacements

16-Guillermo Pujadas
17-Facundo Gattas
18-Reinaldo Piussi
19-Juan Manuel Rodriguez
20-Eric Dosantos
21-Agustin Ormaechea
22-Felipe Berchesi
23-Juan Manuel Alonso


03:46 PM BST

Spider bite rules out Namibia flanker

By Ben Coles

Namibia back-row Johan Retief has been ruled out of his country’s game with Uruguay - after being bitten by a spider.

L’Equipe reported that Retief was bitten on the chest by the spider at the team’s hotel base in Aix-les-Bains. The bite led to complications with Retief now receiving treatment.

“This is something we couldn’t have predicted,” said Chrisander Botha, the Namibia assistant coach. “Johan is very unlucky, and we are disappointed because he is a player who means a lot to us.”

Retief’s unusual absence is the latest instance of misfortune to hit Namibia during their Rugby World Cup campaign.

Le Roux Malan, the team’s centre, suffered a serious leg injury against New Zealand and has been recovering in hospital. Meanwhile the Namibia captain, Johan Deysel, was banned for six weeks on Tuesday following his dangerous tackle on Antoine Dupont, which left the France captain in a race against time to be fit for the knockout stages.

“Johan is our leader, has always been an example to the other players, and it was an accident,” Botha added. “These things happen and it was never done with any malicious intent. We’ll miss him, that’s clear, but other guys will step up.”

Namibia rested key players against France, losing 96-0, in order to have their best team on the field against Uruguay as they chase a first-ever Rugby World Cup win.

“Our aim was always to get our freshest team on the pitch against Uruguay, a clear strategy,” Botha explained. “Obviously a couple of set-backs with injury and a red card, but this is the best possible team we have available but, yeah, four games in 18 days – not easy.

“The entire mindset is different – it’s approaching a game as a one-off. If we have an opportunity to kick at goal, we’ll be a bit more clinical then as well. I don’t want to give too much away, but we have plans.”


03:44 PM BST

Minnows meet

With the idea of Rugby World Cup expansion apparently closer than ever to being realised, it is time for two of this tournament’s minnows to lock horns.

In Australia in four year’s time, we could well have four more emerging nations competing and as such World Rugby will no doubt be keen to see these sorts of clashes be competitive at the very least.

Both Uruguay and Namibia will have had this fixture circled for some time in the hope they can exit France 2023 with at least one win to their name.

For the latter, this has been an especially tough tournament. They have conceded 219 points across their three matches so far, scoring just 11 points in response. Against France they came perilously close to shipping three figures only for the hosts to pull up just four points shy of century.

However, a record victory for France was not the biggest headline to come out of the clash in Marseille. That honour was reserved for Johan Deysel’s rash tackle on Antoine Dupont, which resulted in a facial fracture for the French captain.

Dubious though it may be, inflicting serious injury on the world’s best player will be what Namibia are best remembered for at this World Cup but first win at the tournament will go at least some way to altering that.

Their opponents today, Uruguay, have fared a good deal better over the last three weeks and will go into this one as clear favourites.

They performed admirably against France and even led Italy 17-7 at half-time, before eventually succumbing 38-17 against the Azzurri. With a clash against the All Blacks upcoming next week, Uruguay will know this is their chance to add to their three World Cup wins to date.

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