Namibia
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Buildup to Rugby World Cup begins

Namibia’s national rugby coach Allister Coetzee yesterday announced a 40-man national squad that will convene in Windhoek next week in preparation for Namibia’s upcoming international matches.

At a press conference at the Namibia Rugby Union, Coetzee also gave feedback on the Welwitschias’ performances in the Mzansi Challenge, a coaching clinic in Grootfontein, and Namibia’s international programme building up to the Rugby World Cup in France, from 8 September to 28 October. 

Coetzee’s 40-man squad includes exactly 20 local-based players and 20 foreign-based players, but Coetzee added that more foreign-based players will be called up to a second training camp when their foreign commitments are over. 

The first training campin Windhoek will be held from 26 June to 2 July, while the second training camp will be held in Swakopmund from 13 to 20 July. 

A 35-man Namibian squad will depart for Uruguay to compete in the Nations Cup on 23 July, where they will come up against an Argentina XV on 29 July, and the national teams of Uruguay on 5 August and Chile on 12 August. 

Namibia’s rugby World Cup squad, which will consist of 33 players, will be announced on 14 August, while Namibia’s final warm-up match before the world cup will be against the Blue Bulls in Windhoek on 26 August. 

The national squad leave for France on 29 August for the Rugby World Cup where Namibia will play against Italy on 9 September, New Zealand on 15 September, France on 21 September and Uruguay on 27 September. 

Namibia’s first training squad includes numerous foreign based-players, while some of the most experienced members who have played at previous world cups include Johan Deysel and Tjiuee Uanivi, who are both based in France; JC Greyling of Wanderers, Johan Retief of Griquas, and Prince! Gaoseb and Max Katjijeko from Unam. 

Several other foreign-based players who will join the second training camp in Swakopmund include Torsten van Jaarsveld from France, Aranos Coetzee and Louis van der Westhuizen from the Cheetahs, and several United States-based players including Wian Conradie, Cliven Loubser, Damian Stevens and Le Roux Malan.

Coetzee said he was pleased with the Welwitschias’ form in the Mzansi Challenge, where they won three out of nine matches to finish seventh on the log out of 10 competing teams. 

“I would say it was really a good season for the first year. We won three games, while we lost three within five points so with a bit of luck we could have qualified for the semifinals,” he said. 

“Towards the back end of the competition we improved tremendously and we actually scored the third most tries in the competition – the Falcons came first with 47 tries, then the Eagles with 38 and then us with 32 tries. To me that’s a big positive, in terms of the way we want to play and our identity in Namibian rugby, of attacking rugby and scoring tries,” he said. 

“I’m very positive about how the players responded because they had to adapt to a new coach and a new philosophy. I was pleased about how coachable they were and the effort that they put in notwithstanding the sacrifices and the distances that they had to travel,” he added. 

Coetzee expressed confidence in the Welwitschias’ head coach Chrysander Botha as well as his coaching team which included Jaco Engels, Rohan Kitshoff and David Philander. I was very pleased with the way we worked together and the way these guys were eager to learn and I think Chrysander has done a really fantastic job,” he said. 

Coetzee said they will start preparing earlier for next year’s Mzansi Challenge, with a first training camp to be held in November this year, while they are also planning to hold a regional Namibian competition next year as part of their preparation for the Mzansi Challenge. 

The Namibian squad for the first training camp in Windhoek is as follows:

Forwards:

Jason Benade (Unam), Des Sethie (Unam), Herschell van Wyk (Wanderers), Gihard Visagie (Nantes, France), Wicus Jacobs (Grootfontein), Herman Coetzee (Rugby Travel Academy, SA), Casper Viviers (Baulois, France), Herman Agenbach (Dallas Jackals, USA), Shifuku Haitembu (Leopards, SA), Mahepisa Tjeriko (Unam), Adriaan Ludick (Union Sportive Athletique de Limoges, France), Wynand Breytenbach(San Clemente Rhinos, USA), Tjiuee Uanivi (Montauban, France), Tiaan de Klerk (Mogliano, Italy), Ruan Ludick(Sporting Club Appameen, France), Pieter Diergaardt (Unam), Prince !Gaoseb (Unam), Le Beau du Preez (Wanderers), Max Katjijeko (Unam), Johan Retief (Griquas, SA), Richard Hardwick (Melbourne Rebels, Australia), Johan Luttig (Grootfontein).

Backs:

Jacques Theron (Wanderers), AJ Kearns (Unam), Oela Blaauw (University of Johannesburg, SA), Tiaan Swanepoel (Emirates Lions, SA), PW Steenkamp (Orkan Sochaczew, Poland), PJ Walters (Kudus),  JC Greyling (Wanderers),  Warren Ludwig (Wanderers), Hillian Beukes (Rehoboth), Danco Burger (Wanderers), Natie Janse van Rensburg (Rugby Travel Academy, SA), Chad Plato (Kudus), Johan Deysel (Colomiers, France), Owen Hawanga (Durbell, SA), Lloyd Jacobs (Kudus), Gerswin Mouton (Wits, SA), Alcino Izaacs (Unam), Jay Cee Nel (Griquas, SA).  

Six other players who are still injured were not considered namely, WP Eloff (Wanderers), Andre Rademeyer (Grootfontein), Thomasau Forbes (Wanderers), Cameron Langenhoven (Kudus),  Andre van der Berg (Wanderers) and Lesley Klim (Unam).