Namibia prepares for 2019 Rugby World Cup

Timo Shihepo

Windhoek – Namibia’s senior rugby team, Welwitschias will take on Uruguay in two test matches as part of its preparations for the 2019 World Cup qualifiers. Welwitschias will first take on Uruguay on 18 November with the second test match to be held a week later on 25 Novemver.

Both matches will be played at the Hage Geingob Stadium in Windhoek. The matches will serve as preparations for the world cup qualifiers that will be played in June and July 2018. The world cup will be held in Japan in 2019.

The matches are also earmarked to help Welwitschias improve its rankings to the 20th position on the International Rugby Board (IRB) rankings. Namibia is currently ranked 21st with a score of 61.40 points. Russia is just ahead of Namibia at 20 with a score of 63.13 while Spain and Uruguay are at 19 and 18 respectively with a score of 63.15 each.

“These matches are crucial in preparing the Namibian team for qualification for the 2019 Rugby World Cup during June/July 2018, as no other matches will be played before that. The test matches will also form part of the NRU centennial celebrations. We also want to eventually move inside the top 20 in the rankings,” said Namibia Rugby Union acting CEO, Elizma Theron.

Welwitschias have however to do it without regular and important players due to injuries and some due to club commitments. Johannes Coetzee and Torsten van Jaarsveld are not available due to Pro Rugby commitments. Those nursing injuries includes Pieter-Jan van Lill; Janco Venter; Louis van der Westhuizen; Renaldo Bothma; Johan Deysel; Dirk von Weidtz and Shaun du Preez. Divan Rossouw and Wian Conradie are not available due to study commitments.

The Namibian squad under head coach Phil Davies consists of the following: Props: Casper Viviers, André Rademeyer, Nelius Theron, Collen Smith and AJ de Klerk. Hookers: Obert Nortje, Niel van Vuuren. Locks: Tjiuee Uanivi (2nd test only), Ruan Ludick, Adriaan Ludick, Mahepisa Tjeriko and Max Katjijeko. Back row: Prince! Goaseb, Rohan Kitshoff, Christo van der Merwe, Thomasua Forbes and Adriaan Booysen. Scrumhalf: Helarius Kisting, Eugene Jantjies, Damien Stevens and Wihan von Wielligh. Fly half: Theuns Kotze, Cliven Loubser and PW Steenkamp. Centre: Darryl de la Harpe, Justin Newman, JC Greyling, Lesley Klim, Heinrich Smit. Back three: David Philander, Johann Tromp, Gino Wils

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