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Wales romp to bonus-point victory over Namibia

Sep 26, 2011 2:30:46 PM - www.ft.lk

It was a night of an onward march by Wales and a weary farewell from Namibia. On the fourth day after leaking 12 tries to South Africa, they shipped another dozen. The only firsts for the lowliest of the 20 teams here in New Zealand was that Namibia became the first to finish their schedule and first to be heading for home.

They were given two going-away presents. Tinus Du Plessis, the back-row forward, was named man of the match. He looked a little sheepish as the announcement was made, although he had barged his heart out. Not so shy was Heinz Koll, who finished off a sweeping move involving just the one other player, his mucker from the second row, Nico Esterhuyse, who was given a sweet breakaway pass by Stephen Jones. If Dan Carter could do it against France, then why not Wales’ outside half on the night he became his country’s most-capped player, with 101 of them?
The Namibia try hardly spoke of a mighty comeback launched. Wales had the game all wrapped up in 18 minutes, racing to a 22-0 lead. They then entered a quarter when the rust of age began to tell. They had stacked the ranks with a lot of their old-guard lame: Jones himself, Gethin Jenkins, Ryan Jones and Lee Byrne, victims all to the curse of the wounded calf. Ryan Jones played with composure throughout, a reassuring performance from the old captain who will yet have a big part to play in the absence of Dan Lydiate.
The others took their time to find their sea legs, and it was just as well they were involved in a game as easy as this. For a team in the supposed pool of death, Wales could afford to be pretty untidy in their third game and allow some of their senior players to potter along for a while like senior citizens.