Busy Rugby Schedule for Namibia

The Namibian Rugby Union is busy negotiating several international friendly matches towards the end of the year as the national team steps up its preparations for next year’s Rugby World Cup.

In November, Namibia will compete in Europe on a tour sanctioned by the International Rugby Board, where they will possibly play three matches.

One match has already been confirmed, against Canada on 8 November, while two more matches against Russia and Portugal are also being finalised.

The NRU is also organising some international matches in Windhoek in October, including a first-ever Test match against Germany.

The chief executive officer of the NRU, Sybrand de Beer said they were still finalising both tours.

“We already wanted to invite Germany last year – there is a big German community in Namibia and now after their success at the FIFA World Cup, it will be a good time to invite them and to get companies involved to sponsor the match. They have improved a lot lately and are now ranked 26th in the world on the IRB rankings so they should provide g opposition for Namibia, who are ranked 22nd,” he said.

De Beer said they were also negotiating with Zimbabwe and Kenya to come and play in Namibia in October, but the number of home Test matches will be influenced by the number of matches that Namibia will play on its European tour.

“We are still negotiating and must decide how many matches to play – if we play three matches abroad, then three at home might be too much, so we are still finalising this,” he said.

The European trip will see Namibia play Canada, who are ranked 17th in the world on 8 November, with the venue being in England. Namibia will then probably travel to Moscow to take on 20th ranked Russia on 22 November, while their final match is likely to be against the 23rd ranked Portugal at a venue still to be decided.

De Beer said these matches would provide good preparation for Namibia ahead of the World Cup.

“Canada and Russia have both improved a lot and will provide g opposition for us. We would like to play them because they play a similar style to Georgia and Argentina whom we will meet at the World Cup. It will be a good test in those wet conditions in Europe which will give us a chance to see how our game plan will work against those nations. Portugal plays a faster style of running rugby, which will be similar to that of Tonga, so that will also be good preparation for the Tonga match,” he said.

De Beer also confirmed that Namibia will most probably compete in the South African Vodacom Cup competition next year.

“We are definitely planning to compete in the Vodacom Cup again and are busy negotiating with SARU about that. It will give our local players good exposure and match practise while we will also pull in the U20 players who will be preparing for the Junior World Rugby Trophy competition in April 2015 in Portugal,” he said.

De Beer said they were negotiating with top players abroad who are eligible to play for Namibia at the World Cup.

“We have been in contact with top players who qualify to play for Namibia for a long time now. One of these for instance, was the eighthman Renaldo Bothma, who made such a big impression against the Bulls and in Madagascar. Another one is the Free State hooker and captain Thorsten van Jaarsveld. We couldn’t get his documents ready in time for the Madagascar trip but he will be available next year.”

De Beer however emphasised that local players still had a chance to prove themselves ahead of the World Cup.

“It’s not that we are actively looking for players outside – we have good talent here as well, but we just want to select our gest possible squad for the World Cup. The Vodacom Cup will also provide a good opportunity for our local players to stake a claim to make the national squad,” he said.

Source : The Namibian

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