• July 8th, 2020

Namibia firm favourites to beat Canada, say experts… as coach Davies makes six changes

Maurice Kambukwe

WINDHOEK – Despite a somewhat unenthusiastic start to their 2019 Rugby World Cup campaign, which saw the Welwitschias of Namibia lose all three matches thus far in their Pool B, renowned local rugby experts are convinced Namibia has sufficient firepower to beat Canada on Sunday.

A wounded but highly determined 15-man Welwitschias squad are this Sunday faced with a match of their lifetime and one that could possibly go down in history as a new beginning for Namibian rugby if they manage to defeat the Canucks of Canada at Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium in Unosumai-cho, Kamaishi.

Since making her debut at the 1999 World Cup, Namibia has been on a persistent chase for an elusive first win in the global rugby showpiece but all 22 attempts across various editions of the World Cup have failed to yield any positives as far as that much needed win is concerned.

But heading into Sunday’s crunch match against Canada, local rugby bookmakers and pundits are however convinced that this time around the angels will smile on the Welwitschias, who are the only other African side at the competition alongside South Africa.

New Era Sport spoke to various local rugby experts on what Namibia’s chances are of beating an equally determined Canadian side come Sunday. 

Former Welwitschias experienced mentor and current Unam Rugby Club coach Johan Diergaardt said though the team started off slowly, he remains impressed with their overall performance and fighting spirit especially against reigning world champions New Zealand.

He said going into Sunday’s match against Canada, also yet to register a win, he foresees Namibia finally bagging her long awaited win. “It was one of our best performances at the World Cup and a great show of character against New Zealand. What happened as far as the results, was as we all expected, but the boys really poured their hearts out in that game against the All Blacks and I can only foresee a win against Canada on Sunday. It’s coming, it has to come,” said veteran gaffer Diergaardt.

Reho Falcon coach Ronald Pedro was in full agreement with Diergaardt, saying Namibia stand a great chance of recording their first ever World Cup win against Canada in their final Pool B match.

“The performance against New Zealand was very good, the boys fought very well in the first 40 minutes. But going into our next game against Canada and especially judging from Canada’s performances throughout their matches, I think we stand a good chance of beating them on Sunday. It’s going to be a close game I think,” said an optimistic Pedro.

Coastal rugby club Kudus coach Romeo Reith said: “We had a great match against New Zealand, the boys showed character against a very strong team. Although this team is not as professional as those tier-one countries, they showed us something that we can be proud of and that’s very inspiring going into Sunday’s match against Canada. Against the Canadians, I am very excited for that game and I think we should just stick to our structure and believe in ourselves and we will get the long awaited World Cup victory.”  Yesterday, Welwitschias head coach Phil Davies announced an experienced starting fifteen as he prepares for their final Pool B game of the 2019 Rugby World Cup. The experienced Darryl De La Harpe, who will win his 51st cap, lines up in the No.12 jersey alongside captain Johan Deysel, who has shaken off a knock and moves to outside center.
First-choice fly-half Cliven Loubser is fit after suffering an ankle injury and makes his third start, as Helarius Axasman Kisting, who impressed in his absence against the All Blacks, drops to the bench. 
Veteran star Eugene Jantjies starts at scrum-half instead of the diminutive but lively scrum-half Damian Stevens, who kicked three penalties from three against the All Blacks and is also named among the replacements. Second-row Tjiuee Uanivi is the only player from either Namibia or Canada to have played every minute of his side’s 2019World Cup campaign so far. 

Namibia’s 15-man squad to face Canada: Andre Rademeyer, Torsten van Jaarsveld, Johannes Coetzee, Johan Retief, Tjiuee Uanivi, Prince Gaoseb, Wian Conradie, Janco Venter, Eugene Jantjies, Cliven Loubser, JC Greyling, Darryl De La Harpe, Johan Deysel (capt.), Leslie Klim and Johan Tromp.

Staff Reporter
2019-10-11 08:59:27 | 8 months ago

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