Uruguay secured their first win at this year’s Rugby World Cup by beating Namibia 36-26 in Lyon.
Namibia, playing their fourth and final Group A game in 18 days, led 20-12 at half-time but were punished for ill-discipline as their winless run at six World Cups was extended to 26 matches.
The Africans’ prop Johan Coetzee, captain Tjiuee Uanivi and replacement Desiderius Sethie were all yellow carded for high tackles, with the latter’s upgraded to red, and Uruguay cruised to their fourth World Cup win.
Namibia had lost heavily in all three of their previous group games, against Italy, New Zealand and France – but they made a flying start.
Wingers Gerswin Mouton and JC Greyling both went over in the corner for early converted tries to give the Africans a 14-0 lead.
Uruguay, who had given France a tough test in a 27-12 opening defeat and led Italy 17-7 at half-time before losing 38-17, responded through Baltazar Amaya’s close-range try.
After Tiaan Swanepoel’s penalty, Uruguay cut the deficit to 17-12 in the 28th minute as hooker German Kessler touched down after a driving maul from a line-out.
Swanepoel landed his second penalty to extend Namibia’s lead to 20-12 at half-time and a third at the start of the second period made it 23-12.
But Uruguay poured on the pressure and after Namibia prop Coetzee had been shown a yellow card, Amaya produced a brilliant finish in the corner for his second try.
Felipe Etcheverry converted and the gap was closed to four points at 23-19 and Uruguay took the lead for the first time in the match in the 54th minute through scrum-half Santiago Arata’s superb solo effort, which was also converted.
Namibia skipper Uanivi was shown a yellow card for a high tackle with 18 minutes left and within a minute his side were down to 13 men when replacement prop Sethie was sin-binned for the same offence.
The latter’s was later confirmed as a red card and Uruguay punished them further as another converted try from winger Bautista Basso put them 33-23 ahead.
Swanepoel and Felipe Berchesi swapped penalties to make it 36-26 before Uruguay replacement Eric Dosantos was sin-binned for a high tackle in the closing stages.
Uruguay will play New Zealand in their final group match at the same venue on October 5.
Uruguay v Namibia - Match Stats
Uruguay (12) 36
Try: Amaya (19', 49'), Kessler (28'), Arata (54'), Basso (66')
Conversion: Etcheverry (29', 51', 55'), Berchesi (67')
Penalty: Berchesi (74')
Namibia (20) 26
Try: Mouton (1'), Greyling (11')
Conversion: Swanepoel (2', 12')
Penalty: Swanepoel (25', 35', 43', 69')
Red Card: Sethie (63')
Man of the match: Santiago Arata (Uruguay)