Namibia suffered their second successive defeat at the Nations Cup in Montevideo, after going down 26-18 to the host nation Uruguay on Saturday night.
With the two sides due to meet in Pool A at the Rugby World Cup in France on 27 September, the match served as an important marker and Uruguay came out on top after making better use of their opportunities.
Uruguay flanker and captain Andres Vilaseca opened the scoring when he went over from a driving maul and with flyhalf Juan Zuccarino adding the conversion they went 7-0 ahead.
Namibia came storming backand were unlucky when hooker Louis van der Westhuizen dotted down, but the try was disallowed for obstruction.
Namibia’s woes worsened when they were reduced to 14 men after fullback Divan Rossouw was yellow-carded for not rolling away from a maul on Namibia’s tryline, and Uruguay went 12-0 ahead when eighthman Carlos Deus crashed over from a maul.
Namibia came back strongly, driving to Uruguay’s line with some slick phases, with flanker Wian Conradie prominent, but they could not capitalise on their territorial advantage.
Flyhalf Tiaan Swanepoel finally opened Namibia’s account with a penalty, and when Rossouw, back on the field after his sin-binning, turned on the pace to dive over for an unconverted try, Namibia were right back in the game, trailing 12-8 at halftime.
Namibia continued where they left off at the restart, as Conradie crashed over from a maul, and although Swanepoel’s conversion attempt was once again wide, Namibia were now leading for the first time at 13-12.
Uruguay, however, soon regained the lead when centre Felipe Arcos Perez cut through the backline for a converted try, and when replacement back Diego Ardao touched down after fine work by rightwing Bautista Basso, Uruguay were cruising at 26-13.
Namibia, however, came back strongly, and had the final say when centre Danco Burger went over for a great try.
Replacement back Andre van der Berg started the move, feeding Rossouw, who cut inside and then passed outside to a flying Burger, who tore down the touchline before going over in the corner.
Despite the defeat, there were some positives for Namibia, who will fancy their chances of turning the tables at the world cup.
Their forward pack more than held their own in the set pieces, while the loose-trio of Conradie, Richard Hardwick and Johan Retief impressed with their high workrate.
The backs also impressed with some slick moves and swift attacks, none more so than the fleet-footed Rossouw, but their decision-making let them down at times, while they will have to make better use of their possession in upcoming matches.
Namibia’s final match at the Nations Cup is against Chile next weekend. Chile are also winless after losing 26-25 to Uruguay on 29 July and 40-13 to an Argentinian invitation side on Saturday, while Namibia lost 34-27 to the Argentinians last weekend.