By John Tuerijama
IT was simply a walk in the middle of the park last Saturday when the Welwitschias hammered Uganda 56-6 in their opening match of the Africa Gold Cup campaign. But head coach Phil Davies feels there still some areas of the team’s performance that need to be improved on.
Namibia will this coming Saturday play hosts to Tunisia in their second home tie of the 2018 Africa Gold Cup campaign, penciled for the Hage Geingob Rugby Stadium.
Six of the Welwitschias’ key charges were out nursing injuries but Davies expressed confidence in his medical team. “We hope to have AJ de Klerk Johan Tromp available along with Nellus Theron for the Tunisian encounter. We are 100 percent on that, however, I am not sure on the time frame regarding Renaldo Bortma and David Philander,” said the head coach.
Davies said his squad will be in contention for the next match against the Tunisians and overall he was happy with the match day squad against Uganda.
Assessing the Tunisian challenge this coming Saturday and how it poses a threat to the Namibian campaign, Davies said the North Africans will surely present a different challenge to Uganda. “They are a very big side with a lot of players who have French rugby experience. We will prepare as usual and build on the areas we feel can make a difference for us,” emphasized Davies, adding that Namibia treated each and every encounter as a cup final.“We must retain our concentration for Tunisia and no one else,” said the coach. Commenting on the Zimbabwe versus Morocco draw over the past weekend and what it means for Welwitschias, Davies said: “That is just one result and there is so much rugby to be played, therefore it is too early to assess results like the Zimbabwe and Morocco game.” Turning focus on the weekend game, Davies urged supporters to ensure the Welwitschias continue their winning streak against the Tunisians. “We were happy with the support last weekend, and let us hope we can keep building the support as the players deserve it,” said the national head coach. Meanwhile,
according to firstname.lastname@example.org, the 2018 Rugby Africa Gold Cup, which doubles as a qualification tournament for the Rugby World Cup 2019 to be held in Japan, will be played in a round-robin format across seven match days between 16 June and 18 August 2018. It features Africa’s top six nations that have not already qualified for the Rugby World Cup 2019 with Namibia the highest ranked team at 24 in the current World Rugby rankings, followed by Kenya (28), Uganda (37), Morocco (38), Tunisia (42), and Zimbabwe (44). The winner of the competition will qualify for the Rugby World Cup as Africa 1, joining reigning champions New Zealand, South Africa, Italy and the repechage winner in Pool B.The Rugby Africa Gold Cup runner-up will go straight to the four-team repechage tournament in November 2018. The winners will also be the first recipients of the newly created perpetual trophy, which was unveiled at the AIPS congress in Brussels in May this year, and is designed to embody rugby’s values of Integrity, Respect, Solidarity, Passion and Discipline. World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “We are looking forward to witnessing a very high quality and extremely competitive 2018 Rugby Africa Gold Cup as the six nations involved compete for the right to qualify for what is shaping up to be a fantastic Rugby World Cup 2019
in Japan. Rugby is the fastest growing sport in Africa and has seen record participation growth and fan engagement over the last five years. Since 2002 the number of African nations playing rugby has risen from six to 38, reflecting the excellent development work that has been undertaken across the region and the appetite for a sport that continues to reach, engage and inspire young people.
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