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Rugby battle heats up

The second round of the Namibian Rugby Premier League commences tomorrow with the title race still wide open and some interesting top-of-the-log clashes in store. 

Log leaders FNB Wanderers (31 points) host fourth-placed FNB Rehoboth (17 points) at the Wanderers field, while second-placed FNB Kudus (29 points) host third-placed Trustco United (28 points) at Walvis Bay. 

In other matches, fifth-placed FNB Western Suburbs travel north to take on seventh-placed FNB Grootfontein, while sixth-placed FNB Unam travel to Rehoboth to take on eighth-placed FNB Reho Falcon.

Wanderers regained the lead after beating Falcons 45-20 last weekend and are currently the only remaining unbeaten team in the league with six wins and one draw against Kudus.

They also scored a commanding 47-13 win against Rehoboth in their first round encounter and should start the match as favourites on their home field, but they have been struck by several injuries and their coach Dirk Human was a bit apprehensive about tomorrow’s match. 

“We are missing a lot of players either through injuries or work commitments. For instance, I only have two of my starting backline players available, while some forwards are also unavailable,” he said. 

“We will have to dig deep against Rehoboth who are very strong opponents. I think our first round match was much closer than the score suggests and we also had a full-strength team then so it will be another match altogether on Saturday,” he added. 

Regarding the title race, Human said it was still early days yet. 

“It’s very close between the top three teams and Unam are now also regaining their form and can go fourth if they beat Suburbs. The title isn’t won in the first round and there is still a long way to go,” he said. 

Rehoboth have been a bit indifferent so far with three wins and four defeats, and are now already 14 points behind log leaders Wanderers. 

Their last win came nearly a month ago when they beat Unam 46-35, and since then lost 31-14 to Kudus and 23-17 to Grootfontein two weeks ago. They, however, have had a week to recover from the Grootfontein defeat and will be out to revitalise their title chase against Wanderers tomorrow. 

The clash between Kudus and United should be a cracking encounter with not much separating the teams so far. Kudus were also inactive last weekend and have had a week to recover, but United are striking form and developing into serious title contenders. 

They have only lost one match so far, going down 33-30 to Wanderers three weeks ago, but that match could have gone either way, while last weekend they underlined their resurgence when they beat Suburbs 21-15 at Suburbs Park after a great defensive effort.

Their first round encounter against Kudus in Windhoek was a close affair with United winning 26-21 and tomorrow’s encounter at the coast could once again go down to the wire.

Suburbs, who are fifth on the log on 16 points, travel north for a tough encounter against Grootfontein. Despite being second last on the log on 10 points, Grootfontein have been very competitive, especially at home, where they suffered narrow defeats to Wanderers (25-23) and to a lesser extent Kudus (48-31). 

Unam, who are sixth on 14 points, have also had a mediocre campaign, with only two wins out of seven matches, but they will hope their 44-17 win against Grootfontein last weekend will kickstart their revival. 

In their first round encounter against the Falcons, Unam cruised to a comprehensive 78-5 victory at home, but Falcons on their home turf in Rehoboth will be a different proposition altogether and a close match can be expected.