WINDHOEK – Namibia’s senior rugby fifteen will today square off against Argentina XV for their opening match of the 2019 World Rugby Nations Cup at the newly redeveloped Charrua Stadium in Montevideo, Uruguay.
This year’s Nations Cup marks the 14th edition of the competition that is being hosted by Uruguay for the third year in succession. For this year, a strong line-up featuring Argentina XV, Namibia, Russia and hosts Uruguay will be part of the Nations Cup, which has a strong focus on the upcoming World Cup preparations.
The Namibian team, which mainly consists of experienced players and old-time campaigners, left for Uruguay on Friday. The round-robin format tournament will be played over three match days on June 4, 9 and 15.
The last time Namibia participated in the 2015 tournament, they could not record a single win as they failed to get any points in all their matches. Argentina on the other hand came in second place securing nine points, winning two games and losing one. Romania went on to dominate the tournament winning all three matches and collecting 13 points.
The team’s main focus this time around will be to have strong control over possession and a strong defensive effort against Argentina. After tonight’s match, the boys will have four days of rest before taking on Uruguay on Sunday followed by Russia on June 15.
The Nations Cup is a key World Rugby high performance tournament and will provide an important competition platform for the participating unions at a crucial stage in their preparations ahead of Asia’s first Rugby World Cup, which kicks off in Japan on September 20.
Uruguay, who defeated Canada home and away in 2018 to qualify for Rugby World Cup 2019 as Americas 2, are the team to beat having secured back-to-back Nations Cup titles in 2017 and 2018. The hosts will face stiff competition from fellow Rugby World Cup qualifiers Namibia, who secured their place in Japan 2019 as Africa 1 by winning last year’s Africa Gold Cup, and Russia who qualified as Europe 1 following last year’s continental championship.
Meanwhile Argentina XV will enter the competition with high confidence fresh from convincingly claiming the Americas Rugby Championship title with five straight victories over USA, Brazil, Uruguay, Chile and Canada.
The four participating nations will not face each other in the pool phase of Rugby World Cup 2019 as Russia have been drawn in Pool A together with Ireland, Scotland, Japan and Samoa, while Namibia are in Pool B alongside New Zealand, South Africa, Italy and Canada. In Pool C Argentina will take on England, France, USA and Tonga while Uruguay are in Pool D with Australia, Wales, Georgia and Fiji.