Kazombiaze confident of win in Japan

By John Tuerijama

FORMER national rugby lock forward Wacca Kazombiaze says beating Namibia’s senior national rugby team will be no walk in the park as the team is capable of upsetting the likes of Italy and Canada if they fully focus their mind on the mission at hand.

This week saw the Welwitschias’ coach Phil Davies announcing a team of 31 hopefuls for the World Rugby Cup spectacle scheduled for Tokyo, Japan later this month.

Retired rugby veteran Kazombiaze said he was slightly disappointed with the announcement by former captain Renaldo Bothma, who abruptly retired from international rugby, saying it was regrettable that Bothma retired.

He added that the senior national team could have tapped into the wealth of experience picked up by Bothma, but Bothma had made a mature decision and that should be respected at all times.

Kazombiaze further said that Namibia’s team under Davies was thrown in the deep end in terms of preparation but nonetheless the former lock forward was confident that the head coach knows what is at stake. He believes Namibia could pull off a surprise win against Italy or Canada but admitted that the team faces a daunting task to overcome both New Zealand’s All Blacks and South Africa’s Springboks.

“I have seen the international friendly match between Russia and Italy and even though Italy came out victorious their forwards are not that well-conditioned. So, provided we play a clever game against Italy… our forwards have the pace and can moderate the score if they are mentally well prepared.

“I cannot lie to the nation, [in the match against] New Zealand – affectionately known as the All Blacks – all we can do is keep the score very low. As for South Africa, where it was and where they are now under head coach Rassie Erasmus – again if we concentrate on the scrums and line-out we are definitely not going to be a walk in the park,” emphasised Kazombiaze.        

Meanwhile, SuperSport.com reported the possible fourth appearance of veteran scrum-half Eugene Jantjies made the squad for Japan. Jantjies made his Rugby World Cup debut during his country’s 32-17 defeat to Ireland in Bordeaux in 2007 and has gone on to make 11 tournament appearances.

The 67-cap veteran is one of four players alongside Darryl de la Harpe, Rohan Kitshoff and PJ van Lill included by head coach Phil Davies who featured in New Zealand in 2011. In total, there are 15 players in the squad that have previous Rugby World Cup experience.

They include captain Johan Deysel and Tjiuee Uanivi, who will act as the centre’s vice-captain in Japan.

Namibia qualified for each of the last six Rugby World Cup tournaments but are yet to register their first win. The Welwitschias came close to ending that drought in Exeter four years ago, but Theuns Kotzés late try could not prevent a 17-16 defeat to Georgia at Sandy Park.

Namibia is drawn in Pool B and will open their campaign against Italy in Higashiosaka City on 22 September before taking on South Africa, New Zealand and Canada.

Davies’ side finished fourth at the World Rugby Nations Cup 2019 in June’, despite beating hosts Uruguay 30-28 in Montevideo. They will conclude their preparations for Japan with a second match against PRO14 side Southern Kings on Saturday. Namibia won the first encounter 28-22.

Namibia Rugby World Cup squad

Forwards: Andre Rademeyer, Nelius Theron, Desiderius Sethie, A J de Klerk, Johannes Coetzee, Obert Nortje, Louis van der Westhuizen, Torsten van Jaarsveld, Tjiuee Uanivi, Johan Retief, Thomasau Forbes, Rohan Kitshoff, Max Katjijeko, Prince !Gaoseb, Wian Conradie, P J van Lill, Adriaan Booysen, Janco Venter. Backs: Cliven Loubser, Helarius Kisting, Damian Stevens, Eugene Jantjies, Darryl de la Harpe, Johan Deysel (captain), Justin Newman, J C Greyling, Johann Tromp, Chad Plato, Lesley Klim, Janry du Toit, P J Walters.