Namibian Rugby Team Gears Up for World Cup

THE Namibian rugby team’s preparations for the World Cup qualifiers in June begin in earnest this week when the national team takes on Namibia A in a practise match at 18h00 at the Hage Geingob National Rugby Stadium on Wednesday evening.

This will start a period on intense preparations over the next two months leading up to the CAR Division 1A Championship in Madagascar at the end of June, where the winning nation will qualify for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

According to the Namibia Rugby Union’s CEO Sybrand de Beer, players from the national squad have been withdrawn from their clubs, following last weekend’s club matches and will now just train with the national squad.

“Players in the national squad have been training three to four times per week in the gym doing strength and conditioning training and I’m happy with their fitness levels, it’s much better than last year this time. They will now start attending national training sessions with national coach Danie Vermeulen and his assistants Walter Donn an Henry Kemp , while we have a number of matches lined up over the next two months,” he said.

Namibia will play a second match against a Namibian A team on 9 May, before they take on a combined Potchefstroom University and Leopards team in Windhoek on 17 May.

The final 28-man squad that will represent Namibia in Madagascar will also be announced in the week following the Potchefstroom match.

In June, Namibia’s foreign-based professionals will return home to join the team and they will be available for two tough home matches against Western Province on 14 June and the Blue Bulls on 21 June.

The Namibian squad will leave for Madagascar on 26 June to take on the home team, Zimbabwe and Kenya, with the winning nation booking a ticket to the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The second-placed nation will still have a chance of qualifying for the World Cup in a final qualifying tournament against other continental runners-up later this year.

Namibia currently has 11 foreign-based professionals who will return home in June.

They will be led by national captain Jacques Burger, who has taken his English club Saracens to the final of the Heineken Cup where they will meet French club Toulon on 24 May.

Namibia’s other foreign-based players are Theuns Kotze and Conrad Marais who both play in France Chrysander Botha, Danie Dames, Heinrich Smit, Johan Deysel, Reinaldo Botma, Rohan Kitshoff and Thorsten van Jaarsveld, who all play in South Africa and David Philander who plays in New Zealand.

Meanwhile, De Beer announced that a visiting English team, ‘Clem’s Pirates’ will tour Namibia in May and will take on a ‘Namibian Legends’ team in two matches on 10 and 14 May.

The Namibian team will include former national players like Corne Powell, Attie Samuelson, Herman Lintveldt and De Beer himself, while the English team will donate equipment for charity to the Namibia Rugby Union.

The Namibia A squad to take on the Welwitschias on Wednesday night is as follows:

Mbapeua Kauuova, Wors Engelbrecht, Theo Coetzee, Bigman Kaura, Collen Smith, Hauta Veii, Meraera Kapama, Muinjo Kasiringua, Norman Campbell, Ulrich Engels, Morton van Kradenburg, Simon Kanime, Naude Neethling, Morne Prenn, Cevin Harding, Bwalya Bwalya, Cameron Klaasen, Keeane Wellmann, Shaun Kaizemi, Aurelio Plato, Anthony Brandt, Riekert van der Merwe, Daniel Bock, Walter Jor, Japhet Tjinho, Russel van Wyk, Fabian Routh and Riaan van Zyl.

The Welwitschias squad is as follows:

Jaco Engels, Rathony Bekker, Andre Schlechter, Munee Tjiuza, Mahepisa Tjeriko, Petrus Human, Thinus du Plessis, PJ van Lill, Eneill Buitendag, Justin Nel, Sergio Da La Harpe, Johan Tromp, Handre Bezuidenhoud, Malcolm Moore, Lean Stoop, Shaun du Preez, Johnnie Redelinghuys, Thomasua Forbes, Victor Roderiques, Arthur Bouwer, Robert Herridge and Quinton du Preez.

Source : The Namibian