Namibia’s senior men’s and women’s rugby teams will both be in international action this weekend, with the Welwitschias set to strut their stuff at the Stellenbosch Challenge Tournament, while the women’s team is set to host Zambia at the Hage Geingob Stadium.
The Welwitschias, who are still fighting to secure a spot at the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France, will this weekend be in South Africa to battle it out against Kenya in their opening match of the four-nations tournament on Sunday.
The other two participating teams are Brazil and Zimbabwe, who will both square off in the first match of the day on Sunday at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport stadium.
Head coach Allister Coetzee says he expects his team to show how they can handle pressure and execute the team’s game plan.
Talking to Nampa yesterday, Coetzee said, “We are working on our team to show a bit of cohesion and execute the plan we have, and players with individual brilliance to also showcase it. This is a process to build towards qualifying for the 2023 World Cup.”
The former Springboks coach said there is a lot of energy and excitement in the camp.
“The players are really working hard, along with the coaching staff. The players are keen and enthusiastic; everything is going well,” he added.
The eventual winners and runners-up from this weekend’s games will meet again on Saturday, 20 November, with the third-place play-off just before the final.
Th Namibia Rugby Union (NRU) has indicated that the Stellenbosch tournament will serve as a perfect platform to accord the team more game time and prepare well ahead of the final round of the 2023 Rugby World Cup qualifiers, where they will contest for Africa’s only remaining spot at the next World Cup against the likes of Ivory Coast, Senegal, Kenya, Uganda, Algeria, Zimbabwe and Burkina Faso.
The quadrangular tournament is organised by World Rugby to prepare Kenya, Namibia and Zimbabwe for the 2022 Rugby Africa Cup that will double up for the 2023 Rugby World Cup qualifiers set for France.
Namibia is the highest ranked African country outside South Africa in 25th position, followed by Zimbabwe (34) and Kenya (35). Brazil is ranked 26th.
Ladies to battle Zambia
Meanwhile, the national women’s team will also be in action when they welcome Zambia in the capital for their 2021 Rugby Africa Series Women’s 15s competition. The game starts at 16:30.
The 2021 Rugby Africa Series Women’s 15s competition will make way for the establishment and eventual commencement of the new World Rugby Women’s Cup, which is aimed at creating a platform for women’s international teams to compete in more competitive and sustainable competitions at regional and global level.
Touching on tomorrow’s match, Namibian coach Christel-Janet ‘CJ’ Kotze said they are ready for the clash, and that it will be a great opportunity for the team to try themselves out against competitive opposition.
“We are ecstatic about the Namibia-Zambia game. It marks the beginning of an exciting journey for Namibian women’s rugby, and I am extremely delighted that our first match will be played at home. At present, we are not predicting the result, but at least we will know exactly where Namibian women’s rugby stands competitively once the final whistle has been blown.
This will also give us insight into the strategies that need to be put in place for Namibia to become a competitive nation in Africa,” enthused Kotze.
The team is selected from 60 players from different clubs, who played trials in October. -email@example.com