9 November 2018

Namibia Take On Russia in Krasnodar

Namibia start their European rugby tour with a crucial match against Russia in the southern Russian city of Krasnodar on Saturday.

The two countries have met five times before, with Russia holding a slight edge with three victories, while Namibia have won two.

Russia won their first test match in Windhoek in 1994 by 31 points to 12, and then 16 years later once again emerged victorious when they won 30-15 in Windhoek.

In their last encounter at the Nations Cup in Uruguay last year, Russia ran out comfortable victors, winning the match 31-10 after leading 19-5 at halftime, and scoring five tries in the process.

Namibia could only manage one try by fullback Chrysander Botha, while they gave a disjointed performance with too many unnecessary handling errors.

Two years before, though, Namibia, led by the brilliant Jacques Burger convincingly beat Russia 2-0 in a home series in Windhoek.

They won the first test 39-19 on 11 July and then a week later turned on the screws with a comprehensive 45-5 victory.

Burger and a few other stalwarts that day have since retired, but several members of that squad have remained and will be available tomorrow. They include Casper Viviers, Tjiuee Uanivi, AJ de Klerk, Renaldo Bothma and Rohan Kitshoff amongst the forwards, and JC Greyling, Chrysander Botha, Johann Tromp and Darryl de la Harpe, who will captain Namibia for the first time on Saturday, amongst the backs.

As such, Namibia, have the experience and the depth to pose a strong challenge, but it will be crucial that the youngsters in the squad stand up and make their presence felt.

Namibia's preparations were also hampered by the lack of playing time with their last test against Kenya taking place three months ago.

A win against Russia on Saturday, as well as against Spain and Portugal over the next two weeks will be crucial as it could have a significant impact on Namibia's world ranking.

They are currently ranked 22nd in the world on 59,97 points, while Russia are ranked 19th on 64,89 points. Spain are ranked 20th on 63,09 points while Portugal are ranked 24th on 58,30 points. Victories in all three these tests could see Namibia moving up to 19th in the world.

The Namibian team for Saturday's match is as follows:

Casper Viviers, Obert Nortje, AJ de Klerk, Ruan Ludick, Adrian Ludick, Thomasau Forbes, Max Katjijeko, Renaldo Bothma, Damian Stevens, Cliven Loubser, Jandre du Toit, JC Greyling, Darryl de la Harpe (captain), Johan Tromp and Chrysander Botha.

Substitutes:

Niel van Vuuren, Des Sethie, Andre Rademeyer, Rohan Kitshoff, Prince Goagoseb, TC Kisting, PW Steenkamp and Justin Newman.

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