Namibian Hopes Hang On a Thread

Namibia take on the home team Madagascar in their final qualifying match for the 2015 Rugby World Cup on Sunday, with their chances of topping the Four Nation log now very small.

Kenya, who have won both their matches top the log on 11 points, while Zimbabwe are second on six and Namibia third on five points.

Namibia are expected to beat Madagascar, who are on zero points after two matches, but they will have to overturn a big points deficit on Kenya and hope that Zimbabwe beat Kenya in the first match on Sunday, with neither team getting a bonus point.

The outcome of the group is thus largely out of their hands, but even if Namibia finish second on the log, they will still have a chance of qualifying for the 2015 Rugby World Cup via the intercontinental repechage system.

Qualification will however be very difficult as the runner-up will go into a repechage semi-final against Russia in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, with the victors playing Uruguay or Hong Kong over two legs for a place at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The vice president of the Namibia Rugby Union, Danie Strauss, praised the team for a fine, fighting performance in their 24-20 victory against Zimbabwe on Wednesday.

“The game against Zimbabwe was very hard and physical. They have a well-balanced side with a g pack of forwards, but our team played much better against Zimbabwe and defended our goal line in the last ten minutes with their lives. Players like Rohan Kitshoff, Johan Deysel and Renaldo Bothma stood out and we can truly be proud of the team’s fighting spirit,” he said.

Strauss said he expected a good performance against Madagascar.

“Madagascar play unconventional rugby. They are very weak in the scrums and line-outs and cannot stop mauls or drive with mauls, but they are fantastic runners with the ball and defend well. Make the ball loose and you will pay dearly. If we stick to the structures we will get the better of them, but we will pay dearly if the game becomes loose. I have full confidence that our boys will make us proud,” he said.

The match will start at 13h00 Namibian time and will be preceded by the match between Zimbabwe and Kenya at 11h00.

Source : The Namibian