By John Tuerijama
NAMIBIA is likely to face a host of tough opponents at the 2017 World Rugby Under-20 Championship, which takes place in Montevideo, Uruguay from 20 August to 10 September.
In an interview with Confidente, U-20 national team head coach, Roger Thompson, said he anticipates that Namibia will be seeded in a group of death, following their third-place finish in last year’s competition.
“Although the draw has not been conducted yet, I think we will be drawn against tougher opponents, and I expect to play against Japan, Fiji and perhaps the hosts, Uruguay,” said Thompson.
“We definitely need to improve on our last performances, and thus proper preparation is needed. I will be calling up the players early in August,” Thompson said.
In the 2016 edition of the tournament, held at the National Sports Stadium in Harare, Zimbabwe, the Namibian team delivered a string of sterling performances, beating the United States of America 46-44 and downing Hong Kong by a massive 70-8, while their only defeat was at the hands of Spain, a match they lost by 22-40.
Namibia ended third, after beating Fiji by 44-30 in the bronze medal match, while Spain hammered Samoa by 38-32, to be crowned as the 2016 champions.
Thompson said his team aims to play pre-tournament friendly matches against a national U-23 invitational side, as well as South African U-19 provincial teams and an invitational side from the Griquas Rugby Academy.
They also participated in the Rugby Africa Under-20 Barthes Trophy, which took place in Antananarivo, Madagascar last month.
Namibia hammered Kenya 66-24 in the final, to be crowned as the 2017 champions.
They mercilessly defeated hosts Madagascar by 66-7 in their opening match.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015