RWC: 5 Things You Need To Know About Namibia - Green and Gold Rugby
Rugby

RWC: 5 Things You Need To Know About Namibia

RWC: 5 Things You Need To Know About Namibia

Namibia has competed at four World Cups and not won a game in any of them. This year is unlikely to be any different, with the team having a poor record against the other teams in their pool. But what are the keys for Namibia to change their luck in 2015?

1.  Namibia’s World Cup Record

Namibia's flanker Jacques Burger (L) rea

Someone has to be on the other end of all the fantastic scoring records in World Cups. Unfortunately for Namibia, they feature in a few of them. For example, of the ten World Cup games which have ended up with a team not scoring a point, Namibia feature as the beaten team in three.

Their for and against differential is the worst of any team competing. They also feature as the team with the largest ever margin scored against them. They lost 142-0 against Australia in 2003. And it would’ve been worse if Matt Rogers hadn’t had an ordinary night with the boot. He only hit 16 conversions….. Out of 22 attempts.

It’s going to be a big ask for a win, but if they manage one, it will be on the back of a great performance by this man…..

2.  Jacques Burger

Aside from having one of the most busted heads in international Rugby, the Saracens flanker is Namibia’s best known and probably best player. The bloke is recognised as a tireless workhorse and is well known for his hard hits and big tackle counts.

Burger will be the captain of the team and has always been their best player. He has never given up on a game and has always played a 100% intensity until the final whistle in all of his 30 international matches. He’ll need a lot more help if the neighbours of powerhouse South Africa are to do any real damage.

3.  The Coaching Debacle

Madagascar v Namibia - IRB 2015 Rugby Cup Qualifier

Former head coach of Namibia Danie Vermeulen hugs his players

Recently, the Namibian Rugby Union has entered into open hostilities with the coaching staff of the national team. Head coach Danie Vermeulen has left the organisation. The conflict has also claimed three senior members of the NRU. The argument is over lack of support for the team from the union and the usual dramas with who is interfering with what when.

While the players have been left out of the stoush, there has to be some extent by which they are affected. A team which is already a long way behind the eight ball needs all the help and harmony they can get. Let’s hope they get it together for their team well ahead of the tournament.

4.  European and Super Rugby Players

London Welsh v Exeter Chiefs - Aviva Premiership

Chrysander Botha of the Exeter Chiefs

A lot of Namibian-born players play their Rugby in South Africa and the best sometimes end up playing for the Boks. The team tends to play most of its games without the remaining professional players, as well. For this year’s RWC, though, they will welcome back at least eight professional players – including the aforementioned Burger and Exeter fullback Chrysander Botha.

5.  The Glimmer of Hope

Madagascar v Namibia - IRB 2015 Rugby Cup Qualifier

Madagascar v Namibia

Namibia are in a tough group. With New Zealand and Argentina in the group, I don’t think the #20 ranked team (the lowest in the tournament) will be so bold as to think they’ll make it out of the group. However, they’ll give themselves a puncher’s chance against Georgia and Tonga. Namibia qualified through the African qualification round, which is weaker than the European round through which Georgia qualified.

Namibia seem to struggle against those European teams. Recently, they’ve been beaten by Romania, Spain and Portugal. But that was without Burger and their other pro players. So, they will be heartened by their 39-19 victory over Russia. Couple that with their 89-10 flogging in the qualifier over Madagascar as well as recent wins over Zimbabwe and Kenya and they’ll give themselves a chance – albeit about as slim as Stephen Larkham on Tony Ferguson shakes.

  • Nutta

    Go Namibia. You’re my 2nd team. God loves an under-dog. Is Burger the guy who fought a lion that attacked his girlfriends monkey or something equally as ridiculous (a Gordon Bray story I think)?

    • Chris M

      He looks like it, but I believe that’s Schalk van der Merwe. I ran across that while researching the article.

    • Patrick

      Romania is my favourite underdog this year.

      • Nutta

        I swap between Georgia and Namibia. I supported the Russians for a while after they came to Aus in the 90’s and their 2nd match got called off because they all got ridiculously sunburnt at Bondi before the first game but played anyway (vs ASRU at Vic Barracks) and nearly all got really nasty skin infections as a result. Gold effort.

        • Patrick

          You are much more loyal than I am, I generally support any small Pacific nation that isn’t wearing black against anyone else that isn’t wearing Gold, but I really think Romania could have a fantastic outing this year so I am backing them :)

        • Chris M

          The Romania article will go up today.

        • Chris M

          I’m on the Georgia wagon this year. Not sure they’re such an underdog nowadays, though.

    • HK Red

      That was Schalk van der Merwe, punched and then headbutted a lion attacking a baboon at the game park he lived on. Crazy.
      Think he played back in 1999 or 2003 RWCs.

      • Nutta

        That’s right. It was ’03. The Baboon on the menu was the pet of his girlfriend I’m fairly certain (well that is what Gordon Bray said anyway) because his follow-up rhetorical question was to wonder about all the stupid things he had done to impress a girl but that nothing came close to a punch up with a lion!

  • keith

    “Head coach Danie Vermeulen has walked out on the organisation.” Hmmm, very poor taste from me, but that made me chortle.

    • Chris M

      Didn’t even cross my mind, to be honest. I’ll edit that.

  • therawbucket

    Those hits of Burgers are just savage…

    Loving the articles of the underdogs, keep them coming please!!!

  • Justtacklehim

    Cracking article…thanks for that

  • Nick

    Come on Welwitschia!

    Realistically I think the margin record we have and the total points record (145 by NZ vs. Japan in 95) could be broken when Namibia play NZ as they were looking pretty ordinary. I guess the win against Russia is a positive and maybe the days of those thrashings at World Cups are over?

Rugby

Mrs Mac thinks Chris talks about Rugby far too much. She's probably right. If he's not coaching, he's watching. And if he's not doing either, he's jibbering incessantly about it. He has also been named as a finalist in the Asteron Life Community Coach of the Year for 2015. Mrs Mac remains unimpressed.

More in Rugby