NRU to benefit from N$1.8b

By Michael Uugwanga

THE Namibia Rugby Union is set to benefit from World Rugby’s US$100m (N$1.8 billion) relief fund to help ease the financial pressure on rugby playing nations in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Namibian rugby is currently on stand still following the Head of State’s directive last month to have all sporting activities in the country suspended until the situation in the country normalises, with rugby amongst the restricted sport codes.

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The men senior national team has not played a competitive match since returning from last year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan, where Namibia only played three group matches, resulting in a 42-22 loss to Italy on 22 September, 57-3 loss to South Africa on 28 September and 71-9 loss to New Zealand on 6 October, while their scheduled final pool match against Canada was called off due to typhoon Hagibis.

“The relief fund is available for unions requiring immediate emergency funding subject to appropriate criteria being met.

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It is designed to assist the maximum number of unions for the maximum amount of time while there is rugby void. Unions like Namibia Rugby are invited to apply for the funding and will need to meet certain appropriate objective criteria – this process will be independently adjudicated by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC),” said Dorian Grimaud when asked by Confidente Sport about Namibia Rugby Union (NRU)’s chances of securing and through the relief fund.

Namibia is categorised as a tier 2 rugby nation due to its high ranking on the African continent, with only South Africa’s Springboks ranked higher on the continent than Namibia’s Welwitschias. The Welwitschias are still way behind in terms of playing competitive matches against fellow tier 2 nations such as Georgia, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, Canada, United States Uruguay, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga, due to lack of funds.

The teams of World Rugby’s member nations are ranked based on their game results, with the most successful teams being ranked highest.

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A point-system is used, with points awarded on the basis of the results of World Rugby-recognized international matches. Rankings are based on the team’s performance, with more recent results and significant matches being more heavily weighted to help reflect the current competitive status of a team.

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NRU enjoys support from Namibia Breweries Limited, in particular Windhoek Draught and also from First National Bank Namibia.

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The financial input from the two entities is however still not enough for the NRU to sustain itself in terms of development, like other tier 2 rugby nations.

Grimaud said all member unions have been informed about the Relief Fund, but could not say when the funds would be released to members.

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“All member unions have been informed about the World Rugby Covid-19 Relief Fund,” said Grimaud.

The Namibia Rugby Premier League was set to start last month but due to the directive by the Head of State, the league will only start once the ban is lifted.