Newly acquired Mpilo Gumede impressed on his debut as he helped the Vodacom Bulls register a 43-30 victory over the Namibian Rugby side in Windhoek on Saturday.
Gumede put in a Player of the Match performance to help the Tshwane outfit register an impressive seven-try victory over the Welwitschias.
Played in front of a sold-out crowd at the WHS Stadium, as the locals turned up to wish their national team well ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, the Vodacom Bulls got off the blocks in emphatic style as they opened their points bank inside the opening five minutes of the game.
That set the tone for an exciting game of rugby in the Namibian capital.
The herd went into the break with a six-point lead with the score settled on 13-19 and when the two teams returned, the visiting outfit pushed their hosts for more points and absorbed pressure in their own 22 with great measure and tact.
“This was a great defensive performance as much as it was an attacking match. The boys showed great spirit on attack but they were even more impressive on the defensive line,” Director of Rugby, Jake White commented.
“The Namibians put us under immense pressure on the cusp of the break but the boys held their own and on the dying minutes of the second half, with their fans behind them, they were on us again and we responded well yet again. I am proud of their performance, yes the game is pre-season and there are certain elements that we need to polish but otherwise, the boys were impressive.”
On injuries, White said: “We are happy that we are all walking away from this with no major concerns, just bumps and minor bruises at the moment. We will know once the doctors perform their assessments but at face value, everyone is healthy and that bodes us well as we continue with our work in the pre-season period.”
On the importance of being there for the Namibians, White said: “For us, this game was as important as it was for the Namibians because they needed the competition to help fine-tune their skill, we were happy to be there for them because that is what good neighbours do. I am sure Allister (Coetzee) got some good answers from his side and we wish them well as they head to France this coming week.”
The Vodacom Bulls return to Loftus to continue with their pre-season work as the Vodacom United Rugby Championship season start nears.
The 2023/24 campaign will begin with a match against Scarlets in what will be a newly seeded pitch at Loftus Versfeld Stadium.
Tries: Deon Slabbert, WJ Steenkamp, Mpilo Gumede, Stravino Jacobs, Cornal Hendricks, Tiaan Lange, Bernard van der Linde
Conversions: Jaco van der Walt x4