Passop Bokke, Welwitschias too tough to chew

THERE is nothing more I can say to describe the Welwitschias’ good display against the Italians, who are ranked 14th globally by World Rugby, judging by our ranking in position 23 and losing 47-22 already demonstrates that Namibia has talent but only problem is the lack of exposure for our players.

Italy is a country that is used to playing competitive rugby against the likes of Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland and France, which are tier one rugby playing nations, compared to Namibia that mostly play against minor rugby countries, such as Senegal, Mauritius, Madagascar, Tunisia, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Kenya. Of these African countries only Zimbabwe has played at the Rugby World Cup way back in 1987 and 1991.

The African teams are tier 3, except Namibia who are a tier two rugby playing nation due to their regular presence at the Rugby World Cup and their dominance on the African continent.

Perhaps what I felt is that world rugby has failed to help Namibia become more competitive or to find a way to make Namibia more competitive, by giving them more funding so they play more test matches against top ranked countries.

Although Namibia plays test matches against fellow tier 2 countries, such as Uruguay, Spain, Russia, Samoa and Japan, this is not enough as Namibia does not really gain sufficient high-level exposure by playing against fellow tier 2 nations.

One competition which I am pretty confident that Namibian rugby can grow into is the Castle Lager Championship that is contested by tier 1 nations, such as New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina, who are also referred to as southern hemisphere rugby nations, as Namibia and Uruguay are obviously also in the southern hemisphere.

This weekend Namibia will take on South Africa in a match that is more important to South Africa as redemption, following their 23-13 loss to New Zealand, while for Namibia it is about giving it their all, as Namibia’s focus will be on the Canada match, the final group match for Namibia on 13 October.

The clash against South Africa will surely motivate our players as most of them know very well the playing style of the Springboks as many of them have played or still play in South Africa.

On the other hand, Namibia can still beat the Springboks if Coach Phil Davies’ players do not to allow themselves to be bullied by the South Africans, who are expected to make changes against Namibia, meaning they are likely to use fringe players, which could work in our favour.

Our target remains to win at least one match at the World Cup and Canada remains our prime target. I just hope that our key players remains injury free. Let’s all rally behind the Welwitschias as they represent our country by their presence at the global showpiece, thus raising awareness of Namibia as a country.