…Namibia rugby team gears for Japan 2019
By John Tuerijama
THE Namibia Rugby Limited (NRL) says it is not aware of any discussions or plans to withdraw the senior national rugby team from the 2019 IRB World Cup, penciled for Japan. NRL is the business arm of the Namibia Rugby Union (NRU). Responding to questions by Confidente this week over speculation that the senior rugby team may be withdrawn due to squabbles between the NRL and the NRU, NRL Media, Communications and Public Relations Officer Daniella Filipovic said no meetings were held by the NRL to discuss the issue. “We hold no knowledge of any meeting held and any discussion with regard to withdrawing the national team,” she said, adding that the NRL’s objective still remains to have the national team compete at the 2019 Rugby World Cup. “This (participation at the world cup) forms part, if not the biggest part of our High Performance Program which we have in place for the team,” stressed Filipovic. On the recommendations a few weeks ago by the Minister of Sports, that the NRU and NRL must clearly spell out their roles to avoid any conflict of interest which is tarnishing the image of rugby, Filipovic said the NRL had not made any changes to its current mandate. She said, however, that the NRL was awaiting recommendations which the NRU was said to be bringing forth. Filipovic said the NRU remains the custodian of rugby in the country. “The NRU is recognised by the World Rugby and indeed receives grants from World Rugby for the High Performance Program which it has in place.” In a month from now, the NRL official said the national team will depart for the United Kingdom to participate in the End of Year UK Rugby Tour, with the main focus of the squad now being intensive training, fitness and conditioning as well as on field skills training sessions. She added that the Invitational IV friendly match played against the Blue Bulls Presidential IV two weeks ago at the Hage Geingob stadium in Windhoek was part of three friendlies that were scheduled to take place, the other being Boland Cavaliers on the 6th October and Western Province on the 13th October 2018. However, due to other commitments from the invited teams, the remaining two matches have been cancelled. Another match which would have seen the Welwitchias play Kenya on October 21 has also been scratched on the basis that the scheduled date falls too close to the departure of the team for the End of Year Rugby UK Tour on the 3 November. The End of Year Rugby UK Tour is scheduled by World Rugby for all participating countries that have qualified for the Rugby World Cup 2019. “This plays part of an extensive campaign to prepare Namibia for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. Apart from it being essential for RWC 2019 preparation, this is aligned with the goals set out for the team to increase the level of competitiveness in the 2019 RWC, improve their overall ranking and aims to win at least one pool match,” said the NRL media officer. Filipovic said the envisaged tour to the UK gives much needed insight on what work needs to be implemented in preparation and the level of competitiveness of the other countries Namibia will be facing at the world cup. JP Nel, the assistant coach of the Namibia rugby team, says that the main task is to make sure that the players are in a condition to compete against some of the top countries. “To play Russia in Russia, and play Spain in Spain is a tough ask, especially looking at the squad. We have a lot of young players going on tour, but we see this as a good measuring tool to ascertain at what level the younger players can cope,” he said. The final squad of 28 players will be confirmed soon upon careful selection by the Director of Rugby and National Team Head Coach Phil Davies. The Namibian team kicks off their three-week tour with a game against Russia on November 10, followed by Spain on the 17th and Portugal on the 24th, with the expected date of return being the 26 November.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015