Namibia Take On g Leopards

Namibia’s national rugby team will play its first competitive match this year when it takes on a g Leopards team at the Hage Geingob National Rugby Stadium at 15h00 on Saturday.

With the national squad only having been together for two weeks, national coach Danie Vermeulen said he did not know what to expect.

“This will be our first competitive match of the year and it’s difficult to know what to expect. This will be our first real test and will give us an indication of how we are progressing with regards to technical aspects like our defensive patterns and combination play,” he said.

The Leopards have selected a powerful team and Vermeulen said he expected a tough match.

“The Leopards have a young but g squad. It’s going to be a tough match and I just hope our players will be able to adapt to the intensity of the match,” he said.

The Leopards will be in top shape after their Vodacom Cup campaign, while the team includes nine payers who represented Potchefstroom University in the Varsity Cup final that they lost 39-33 against the University of Cape Town last month.

The match will also serve as a final trial match for local-based players to impress the national selectors before Namibia’s final 28 players, who will compete at next month’s World Cup qualifiers in Madagascar, is selected next week.

According to Vermeulen, the result will not be that important.

“Of course, we are not playing to lose the match, but one must keep the bigger picture in mind, and that is to prepare for our World Cup qualifiers in Madagascar. We will be using a lot of players to look at combinations and so on, while the match will also serve as trials for the players to show what they’ve got. With our foreign-based players joining us next month, this will be an opportunity for the local players to show what they can deliver and to stake their claim for the national side,” he said.

Vermeulen said he was satisfied with the conditioning of the players, although numerous players have only recently returned after lengthy injury delays. They include Morne Blom, Mapisa Tjeripo, Stefan Neustadt and Andre Schlechter, while Mune Tjiueza and Rathony Becker also picked up recent niggling injuries.

Regular Namibian eighthman PJ van Lill is on honeymoon and unavailable, but besides him, Vermeulen said the squad of 25 players was the gest local squad they could select and that most of the players will be given a chance to play on Saturday.

The Namibian team, which includes 11 players from Wanderers, six from Western Suburbs and four from United, is as follows:

1 Jaco Engels (United), 2 Shaun du Preez (Wanderers), 3 Andre Schlechter (unattached), 4 Stefan Neustadt (United) , 5 Mapisa Tjeriko (Western Suburbs)

6 Tinus du Plessis (Wanderers), 7 Tomasu Forbes (Western Suburbs), 8 Victor Rodrigues (Western Suburbs), 9 Eniell Buitendag (Wanderers), 10 Justin Nel (Western Suburbs) , 11 Johan Tromp (Wanderers), 12 Johan Deysel (Potchefstroom), 13 Heinrich Smit (Potchefstroom), 14 Malcolm Moore (Wanderers), 15 Lean Stoop (Wanderers).


16 Rathony Becker (Western Suburbs), 17 DG Wiese (Wanderers), 18 Johnny Redelinghuys (Wanderers), 19 Jaco Swanepoel (Wanderers) , 20 Morne Blom (United), 21 Mune Tjiueza (Western Suburbs), 22 Arthur Bouwer (Wanderers)

23 Divan Visser (Stellenbosch University), 24 Robert Herridge (United), 25 Handre Bezuidenhout (Wanderers).

Source : The Namibian