With the Rugby Africa World Cup qualifiers around the corner, the national senior men’s rugby team will next month face South African side, Blue Bulls, in the Officeconomix Goodwill Cup.
This exciting fixture is scheduled for 4 June at the Independence stadium.
Speaking during the launch of the maiden Goodwill Cup on Friday, Paul Oosthuizen, the CEO at Officeconomix, said the match will serve as preparation for the Welwitschias in their quest to qualify for next year’s Rugby World Cup.
“The match against the Blue Bulls will give our beloved Welwitschias valuable game-time before they leave for France in July for that vital qualifiers. The Welwitschias and Blue Bulls will compete for this Goodwill floating trophy, and it will become an annual event. Perhaps next year, we will be playing Kenia, the All Blacks or the Springboks – who knows?” said Oosthuizen.
He added the match also aims to generate income to fix the dilapidated stadium, “because no event or match can be hosted with a lot of broken seats”.
Also speaking at the event, Pine Pienaar, who has been involved with the Blue Bulls for more than 10 years in various coaching positions, said they are looking forward to the 4th of June.
“It is a great initiative; we are looking forward to this exciting day. I know we have a congested schedule with so many games to play, but we will ensure a possible strong team will be sent to face the Welwitschias, who are a relatively strong side,” he said.
On the day, school teams, as well as women’s teams, will compete as curtain raisers for the big clash.
Other activities on the day include free entertainment for children, cheerleaders, a tribute to all national players, an activator from South Africa to get the mood going and a Mexican wave or two.
The highlight could be the drop goal competition, sponsored by FNB, where 10 contestants, randomly drawn from the crowd, each gets one chance to do a dropkick. The first successful effort will win a Nissan Magnite to the value of N$ 300 000.
Tickets cost N$40.
Various other sponsors have since come on board.
Meanwhile, the Namibia Rugby Union (NRU) held trials over the weekend to select teams for the men and women’s teams for the upcoming event.
Welwitschias assistant coach Chrysander Botha said they will announce the 26-man squad to face the Blue Bulls on Tuesday.
Botha told Nampa the trial match, which took place under windy and cold conditions, was a good opportunity for local players to raise their hands to be selected for the qualifier matches, scheduled for July in France.
He said foreign-based players will join the team in a three-week camp in Stellenbosch, South Africa, before flying out to France to participate in the World Cup qualifiers.