24 November 2017

Namibia: Wounded Namibia Out to Restore More Than Pride

A lot more than pride will be at stake when Namibia take on Uruguay in their second rugby test match tomorrow afternoon.

Namibia's 52-36 defeat in the first test last weekend saw them dropping one place on the international rankings to 22nd in the world and another defeat could see them being hauled in by a chasing pack that includes the likes of Hong Kong, Germany, Portugal and the Netherlands.

Uruguay, meanwhile, moved one place up to 18th in the world, with Russia moving down to 19th, followed by Spain and Canada.

Besides international rankings that are at stake, the psychological advantage of a victory will be crucial ahead of the World Cup qualifiers that take place next year.

Uruguay already start their qualifiers against Canada in January and following their victory last Saturday, they will be in confident mood heading into their qualifiers.

For Namibia, it will be vital to get back to winning ways, but it will not be easy against a disciplined and experienced Uruguayan squad.

Their powerful pack laid the foundation for their victory last Saturday, as they dominated the scrums and line-outs, while they excelled with their driving mauls, which led to several tries.

Their backline were kept in check for most of the match, but they have a scheming fly half in Rodrigo Silva, while their right wing, Frederico Favara has a deadly boot. Last Saturday he didn't miss a kick all afternoon, landing seven conversions and a penalty for a personal haul of 17 points.

Namibia will therefore have to be disciplined and not concede penalties, while they will have to perform better up front and secure better possession from the forward set pieces.

According to coach Phil Davies, Namibia's forwards only secured 45 percent clean ball in the first test, which put undue pressure on their backline.

Despite this, Namibia's backline performed admirably, scoring some exhilarating tries in the process, and with several match winners like Johan Tromp, David Philander, JC Greyling and Lesley Klim in their midst, they certainly have the potential to beat Uruguay.

Added to that, their young fly half Cliven Loubser is rapidly growing in stature and gave a man of the match performance in the first test with a fine kicking display and several incisive breaks.

But test matches are won or lost amongst the forwards and it is here that Namibia will have to step up if they want to win tomorrow afternoon.

Earlier this week Davies announced that there will be some changes to Namibia's starting line-up, and although the team had not been announced at the time of writing, one definite newcomer will be lock Tjiuee Uanivi, who has been released by his club London Scottish for the second test.

Uanivi is certain to improve Namibia's line-out performance, but they will also need to improve in the scrums where a youthful front row of Collen Smith, Obert Nortje and AJ de Klerk struggled last Saturday.

The problem though is that Namibia's first choice front rankers like Torsten van Jaarsveld and Aranos Coetzee, as well as other experienced forwards like PJ van Lill and regular captain Renaldo Bothma are not available, with the result that Namibia's youngsters will have to sink or swim tomorrow.

Uruguay meanwhile named four changes to their starting lineup, with lock Diego Ayala, flanker Gonzalo Soto Mera, scrum half Agustin Ormaechea and left wing Gaston Gibernau replacing Rodolfo Garese, Manuel Diana, Santiago Arata and Francisco Berchesi respectively.

Tomorrow's second test will start at 16h00 at the Hage Geingob Stadium, while the entrance fee is N$50 for adults and N$10 for children and students with student cards.

Tickets are available at webtickets.com.na, Pick n Pay stores and at the gates.

The Namibian squad which was named later is as follows:

Chrysander Botha, Lesley Klim, JC Greyling, Darryl de la Harpe, Gino Wilson, Cliven Loubser, Eugene Jantjies, Adriaan Booysen, Johan Retief, Rohan Kitshoff, Ruan Ludik, Tjiuee Uanivi, Nelius Theron, Neil van Vuuren, Casper Viviers.

Replacements:

Obert Nortje, Collen Smith, AJ de Klerk, Prince Gaoseb, Christo van der Merwe, Damien Stevens, Theuns Kotze, Justin Newman, Adriaan Rademeyer, TC Kisting and PW Steenkamp.

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