Welwitschias’ November Internationals Confirmed

The International Rugby Board has confirmed the venues and kick-off dates for Namibia’s tour of Europe at the end of the year.

The Welwitchias kick off their three-week tour against Canada at Parc Eirias, Colwyn Bay in Wales, on 7 November. The Parc Eirias facility was re-opened in 2011 and since then has hosted five test matches, four of which were during the 2012 International Series that featured Canada, Russia, Tonga and the United States.

Last year Japan beat Russia 40-13 at the same venue. Parc Eirias is also the official home of the Welsh club RGC 1404 and the Welsh under 20 rugby team. This fixture will only be the second meeting between Canada and Namibia. In their previous encounter on 14 October 1999, Canada thumped Namibia 72-11 in a Rugby World Cup match in Toulouse, France.

“It will be a massive challenge for coach Danie Vermeulen and his team with Canada ranked 17th by the IRB, five places higher than Namibia at number 22. Conditions will also provide a major test as kick-off is scheduled for 19h00 (21h00 Namibian time) in a city overlooking the Irish Sea with rain and low temperatures prevalent that time of the year,” the Namibia Rugby Union said in a statement.

From Wales, the Welwitschias will travel across the English channel to Southern France and home of the Heineken Cup champions, Toulon at the Stade Felix Mayol for a match against the French Barbarians.

Although warmer weather and better conditions are expected for this fixture on the Mediterranean Sea, the French Barbarians are likely to provide Namibia with their gest opposition on the tour.

Last year the French Barbarians, which included a host of fully capped internationals from France and New Zealand, defeated Samoa 20-19 in Clermont-Ferrand. The 2014 French Barbarians team will be named next month and will again feature a number of test players, according to the NRU.

Namibia’s last stop in Europe will be the Estadio Nacional Jamor near Lisbon for a test match against Portugal on November 22. This will be the fifth international between the two countries since 1990 when the first match in Windhoek was won 88-9 by Namibia.

Namibia has won four of the five encounters, the last being back in November 2010 in Lisbon, when Portugal won 24-12.

This match is expected to be the closest of the tour as Portugal is ranked 23rd by the IRB, just one place below Namibia. Kick off for this match will be 15h00 (16h00 Namibian time).

The three-match tour is part of an extensive campaign unveiled last week to prepare Namibia for the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England. The tour will be preceded by an international match in Windhoek on 1 November against an opponent that will be confirmed soon.

Namibia’s opening match at the 2015 Rugby World Cup is on the 24th of September next year against New Zealand at London’s Olympic Stadium.

Source : The Namibian