Various local rugby pundits and experts have weighed in on the national men’s rugby squad for the upcoming Rugby World Cup, saying the squad is balanced with fresh talent and experienced players.
On Monday, Namibia Rugby Union (NRU) president Petrie Theron, together with Chief Executive Officer (CEO) John Haynes and vice president Johan Diergaardt, announced a 33-man squad that will represent Namibia at the competition set to commence on 8 September in France.
The team comprises regular players such as Johan Deysel, who is also the captain, JC Greyling, Cliven Loubser, Damien Stevens, Prince !Gaoseb and Tjiuee Uanivi.
The new faces include, Oela Blaauw, Andre van der Berg, and Mahepisa Tjeriko, to mention a few.
The Welwitschias, who are still in quest to register their first win at the competition, are in group A against host nation France, Italy, Uruguay, and powerhouse New Zealand.
The national men’s team will open their campaign against Italy a day after the tournament commences before facing probably their toughest group game against the All Blacks on 15 September.
On the 21st of the same month, the Welwitschias will square off against host nation France before they conclude their group game against Italy six days later.
Reacting to the squad, Gerald Loubser, the head coach of Rehoboth Rugby Club, said the squad looks good and comprises a mix of seasoned and fresh talent.
“It’s the best squad for me under the circumstances, I believe that’s the best squad possible. The team is balanced because it has experienced and new players, which I think would work for the team. I know there are a couple of guys who I feel should have made the final cut, but I am happy with the squad selected,” he said.
He added that he feels there should have been more backs than forwards in the squad.
James Bock, who manages Western Suburbs, shared the same sentiments, saying the team looks balanced and comprises very experienced players.
“We have players that are going to the World Cup for the third time or more, which is quite impressive, and having such experience in the team will always be crucial at such an important tournament. Overall, I believe this is the team that would get us our first win,” he said.
The upcoming World Cup participation will mark Namibia’s seventh appearance at the competition.