Namibia: What to expect

SA Rugby magazine takes a look at neighbours Namibia, who join the Springboks in Pool B at the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

A power struggle between the Namibian Rugby Union (NRU) and the professional arm, Namibia Rugby Limited (NRL), threatened to put the country’s World Cup participation at risk. The NRU and NRL had been at loggerheads over control of the Namibian national rugby team and the day-to-day running of the sport.

But the Welwitschias will appear at their sixth World Cup after the saga was settled amicably. Namibia qualified for the World Cup in 2018 after they comfortably won the Africa Gold Cup.

Key players:

Former Western Province openside Rohan Kitshoff is a hard-working player on the ground with a lot of experience, while fullback Chrysander Botha is a dangerous runner from broken play.

24 – The number of tries Namibia have scored in 19 World Cup matches

6 – This is the African country’s sixth consecutive World Cup appearance

The captain

Namibia suffered a big blow when SA-born stalwart and former skipper Renaldo Bothma announced his Test retirement with immediate effect on 1 September. The leadership is set to fall to another player with South African ties: Johan Deysel. The former Leopards and Sharks centre has represented Namibia since 2013 and featured at the 2015 World Cup. If Namibia are to deliver a respectable showing at this World Cup, they will need an experienced campaigner such as Deysel to deliver as a leader and key member of the backline.

The coach:

Former Wales lock Phil Davies was appointed technical adviser to the team in 2014 and took over as head coach shortly before the 2015 World Cup. Despite not winning a match, Namibia didn’t disgrace themselves at the tournament. In 2016 Davies led Namibia to second place at the World Rugby Nations Cup, before winning the Africa Gold Cup three times in a row from 2016 to 2018. Davies played 46 Tests for Wales and won the Five Nations title with them in 1988 and 1994.

– This is a snippet from October issue of SA Rugby Magazine that previews every team at the World Cup, now on sale!  

Photo: Getty Images

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