The Namibian MTC Rugby Premier League resumes on Saturday with several interesting encounters in Windhoek and Rehoboth.
At the moment, four teams are within a point of each other at the top of the log, but this weekend’s results could have a significant bearing on the title race.
Log leaders United are at home to Rehoboth on Saturday and can expect a tough encounter. Rehoboth, who lost their last match 32-26 to Wanderers, are just a point behind on 12 points and will be keen to get back to winning ways.
Rehoboth have an exciting backline with attacking players like McGeechan Christians, Chase Diergaardt and Desmond Snyders, but they could struggle up front where United have the heavier pack.
Nearly the whole United pack is in the national training squad and players like locks Tjiuee Uanivi and Stefan Neustadt and loose forwards Morne Blom, Morten van Kradenburg and Winmar Rust, as well as front rankers Shaun du Preez and Callie Swanepoel, could swing the match in their favour.
United however have a number of injuries, with flyhalf Herman de Wet and wing Guillaume Nel both unavailable with shoulder injuries, while prop Martin Goeieman is also unavailable.
United spokesman Hannes Brits said he expected a tough encounter but was optimistic that they would win.
“Rehoboth have improved a lot over the past few years and our matches have always been close. But if we can dominate the forward exchanges and give our backline a good service we should win the match,” he said.
Wanderers, who are joint leaders with United on 13 points, will be strong favourites to beat Mariental at home in Pioniers Park.
Mariental have only won one match so far this season - against bottom placed Dolphins - and are currently second last on the log.
Wanderers had a poor start to the season when they lost 42-16 to United on March 31, but since then they have notched up three victories in a row to move up the log. They too, have a powerful pack, with players like eighthman PJ van Lill, locks Nico Esterhuizen and Schalk Bergh and prop Johnny Redelinghuys, and with fullback Haico Prinsloo in fine form with the boot, they will be confident of victory.
Western Suburbs will want to get back to winning ways when they host Kudus at Suburbs Park on Saturday.
Suburbs lost their last encounter 22-17 to United on April 21 and have not been in action since then. They had a bye in the last round on May 12, and since the league will only be contested over one round this season, the matches have been thinly spread.
Kudus were the surprise early leaders but lost their last two encounters against Wanderers and United and have since dropped down to fifth place on the log.
Neo Paints Reho Falcon, who are joint third on 12 points, did not look very convincing in a 19-15 home victory against bottom of the log Dolphins on May 12, and will need to improve when they take on Unam in Rehoboth.
Unam notched up their first victory of the season when they beat Mariental 12-10 in their last match, but they will find the defending champions a tough proposition on their home turf.
Saturday’s matches are as follows:
15h15: Wanderers v Mariental, Wanderers
15h15: United v Rehoboth, United
15h15: Reho Falcon v Unam, Rehoboth
15h15: Western Suburbs v Kudus, Suburbs Park