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Windhoek Gym, WHS to battle it out

Defending champions Windhoek Gymnasium and Windhoek High School will battle it out in the u19 Super League final of the Standard Bank Namibia Secondary Schools Rugby tournament at the Hage Geingob National Rugby Stadium this weekend. 

WHS are by far the most successful team in the history of the tournament, having won the title 26 times and drawing it once since the tournament started in 1969. 

Windhoek Gymnasium have won it on only four occasions, but in recent years they have replaced WHS as Namibia’s most dominant rugby school, along with Windhoek Afrikaanse Privaat Skool (WAP). 

Windhoek Gymnasium won the title for the first time in 2014, successfully defending it the following year, before winning it a third time in 2017. 

WAP won the title in 2018 and 2019 and after a two-year break due to covid, Windhoek Gymnasium returned to the summit when they beat WAP 24-23 in a thrilling final last year. 

WHS have only won the title once over the past decade, when they beat WAP in the 2016 final, but they have been in great form this year and stand a good chance to return to their former glories.

There was hardly anything to choose between WHS and Windhoek Gym in this year’s league competition as they both finished on 59 points, with Windhoek Gym taking top spot with a slightly better points aggregate. 

In their only league encounter, WHS took the honours with a close 24-23 victory on 29 July, although either side could have won it. WHS seemed to be heading for a comfortable victory when they led 24-11 midway through the second half, but Windhoek Gymnasium made a stirring comeback with two tries by loose-forward Ruan Agenbag and could have won the match had scrumhalf Denver Beukes’ final conversion attempt not gone wide. 

That was Windhoek Gymnasium’s only defeat of the season, while WHS also suffered one defeat when they lost 26-24 away to Walvis Bay Private School on 22 July.

WHS and Windhoek Gym finished well ahead of the chasing pack, with WAP finishing third on 51 points and Pro Ed Academy fourth on 46, and in last weekend’s semifinals, they were both worthy winners, although WHS had to repel a late comeback before beating WAP 36-31. 

WHS seemed to have the match sewn up when they led 33-17 with 10 minutes to go, but WAP struck back with a penalty try, and a great solo try by flyhalf Van der Merwe Tromp to reduce the deficit to 36-31. That was Tromp’s third try of the match, while he also added two conversions for a personal tally of 19 points, but it was not enough as WHS held on for the win. 

Their pacey leftwinger Denver Meyer scored two tries and flyhalf Caeden Moller and fullback William Beukes one each, and along with

centres Davito van Wyk and Sammy Soobramoney, they have a potent backline which is especially dangerous from broken play and on the counter-attack. 

Up front, they have a powerful tight five and a mobile loose-forward trio in captain Luca Cindano, McHenry Kambatuko and Pieter-Jan Strydom.

Windhoek Gymnasium had an easier passage to the final after beating Pro-Ed Academy 39-12. 

They scored six tries through wingers Carlo Hawenga and Suramie Qhena-Kambombo, fullback Janre van Zyl, centre Stephan Gildenhuys, eighthman Janneman Brand and flanker Ruan Agenbag, while flyhalf JW Visagie added two conversions and a penalty and scrumhalf Denver Beukes one conversion. 

They have a settled and experienced team with players like Qhena-Kambombo, Gildenhuys, Visagie, Beukes and Waldre Kotze in the backline, and Brand, Agenbag, Hendre Schrader and Zack von Wiellich amongst the forwards, all forming a part of last year’s winning team.

The finals action already gets underway at 14h00 tomorrow with the u14 B final, and continues at 08h00 on Saturday, with the u19 Super League final scheduled to start at 16h15.