Netherlands qualify for WXV3

Netherlands have qualified for this year's WXV3 after beating Colombia in a promotion/relegation playoff.

Published by John Birch, March 16th, 2024

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Netherlands qualify for WXV3

After the 'do-or-die' match for a place in the WXV competition, the Dutch team beat against Colombia 33-11 at the National Rugby Center in Amsterdam. Over 1,000 spectators watched the game - a new Dutch record.

The team coach Sylke Haverkorn can now prepare for a series of matches in the WXV competition, which provides a potential route to next year's World Cup.

At the beginning of the match there was visible tension on both sides. After the 'scanning' phase was over, Colombia opened the scoring after ten minutes. The Netherlands' response did not take long. Five minutes later, Isa Prins levelled the scores, and the Dutch then went ahead when it was converted moments later by Jet Metz. The Dutch clearly had a taste for the game, because two minutes later Lieve Stallmann scored the second try. Metz shot the conversion between the posts from an awkward angle (14-5). Four minutes before the half-time whistle, Colombia converted a penalty (14-8) to narrow the Dutch advantage.

After the break, the Netherlands started strongly. After three minutes it was captain a try from Inger Jongerius who lifted the score to 19-8 before a second penalty for Colombia pulled back three points (19-11).

Ten minutes before the end, Gaya van Nifterik gave the starting signal for the final offensive with a fourth try (24-11). Metz converted the score to 26-11. A fifth followed a good run by Mariet Luijken, Pleunie Kievit scoring to make it 31-11 eight minutes before the end, Metz converted off the post and thus giving a final score of 33-11.

The euphoria was great after the final whistle. All the players ran into each other's arms. The 'group hug' involved partying and jumping across the field. The national coach herself did not hide her pride. “This is really great. After the 19-8 at the start of the second half, I was sure they wouldn't get it back," said Haverkorn.

Captain Inger Jongerius said "Physically we dominated after a rusty start. We stuck to our own game plan, didn't panic. There has been a lot of play in their half."

20-year-old Jet Metz was kicked well. “I was really ready for it. Now we can go to Dubai," the fly-half shouted before receiving the necessary congratulations. Pien Selbeck indicated that he had no doubts other than the victory. "I'm looking forward to the match against Spain. That will be a good indicator against a team from the global top 10."

The Dutch will likely have to end in the top two or three in WXV3 to qualify for the World Cup, in a pool that will include one other European team, the top two teams from Oceania (one of which will already have qualified as regional champions), and the runners up from Asia and Africa.

The next challenge for the Dutch team will be against Spain in their final European Championship game on Saturday, April 6 at 6 p.m.