Namibia: Typhoon Hagibis Shatters Namibian Hopes

Namibia's World Cup ended in abject disappointment after their final match against Canada was called off due to Typhoon Hagibis on Sunday morning.

After two other matches between New Zealand and Italy in Pool B, and England and France in Pool C were cancelled on Saturday, the news came through late on Saturday night that Namibia's match had also been cancelled.

It was a huge disappointment, especially as this was the match that Namibia had been targeting all along to register their first victory at the Rugby World Cup, after losing 22 matches over 20 years at the global rugby showpiece.

Due to the cancellation the match was officially registered as a draw, and since Namibia had a slightly better points aggregate than Canada, they now finish one place above Canada in Pool B.

New Zealand, who won the Pool on 16 points and second placed South Africa on 15 points go thorough to the quarterfinals, while Italy on 12, and Namibia and Canada on two points each now go home.

Namibia coach Phil Davies said it was the correct decision.

"Were obviously disappointed with the cancellation, but we totally understand it, because safety is paramount and it's a logical decision. I've never seen so much rain in my life and being from Wales you see a lot of rain so its the right decision and safety has been the paramount feature.

"It's been an amazing journey and I feel very proud to represent Namibia and to be the head coach of a fantastic group of players. The commitment and effort that they've been putting in the last four years was absolutely phenomenal. The last two World Cups have brought pride, passion and respect to Namibian rugby and built on the legacy of the previous four World Cups and the players have to take a lot of credit for that," he added.

Davies said Namibian rugby had improved over the past few years.

"Statistically we gained one point at the last World Cup and this time we've gained two, so statistically we've improved, and the performances on the field have got better and better," he said.

"Last week (against New Zealand) was a highlight for me and even though the scoreboard was very unkind in the end, to be 10-9 down to the world champions after 35 minutes was a testimony to how far the players have come over the past four years, and the country should be very proud of the way they played on the field, and also the way they conducted themselves off the field," he added.

Davies will now step down as Namibia coach after five years at the helm, but he said they had built a legacy for Namibian rugby to build upon.

"We've built a big legacy. There's the establishment of the national academy over the last four years, the establishment of a high performance centre at the national stadium which provides a daily training environment for the national players and club players as well. We've been the African champions for the past four years, and I think there is a legacy built that can create a bright future for Namibian rugby.

"What is next for me is to grow the game and the challenge for the current board is to do that to make sure that we can develop the club game - there are some tremendous clubs in Namibia, but if we can go from seven to ten clubs in the next four years cycle it would be amazing. If we can go from 900 players to 4 000 and also establish a quality sevens programme, it will help grow the game," he said.

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