Saturday 17 April 2021
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Welwitschias brace themselves for 2019 Rugby World Cup

It’s fair to say that the World Cup has not been Namibia’s happiest hunting ground for success in the world of rugby, yet, four years on from the disappointment in the 2015 World Cup, the Welwitschias will step onto the pitch on 22 September 2019 to face Italy with the feeling that this might just be their year in Japan.
It can be rightly classified as a point to prove, after all, Namibia’s longest run in World Rugby’s biggest competition has always ended in the pool stages in all the five World Cup that they have participated in since their debut in 1999. This year’s pool poses a different challenge, with a grueling task laying ahead as the menacing All Blacks have been drawn against them in Pool B, alongside neighbours South Africa.
Italy and Canada will provide a chance at reprieve for the Welwitschias, who will feel they are on a decent run of form ahead of the World cup after going all the way in the Rugby Africa Gold Cup- the reason for this year’s participation- but it is fixtures against The Springboks and New Zealand, who have a combined five world triumphs between them, that will show just how determined and deserving Namibia is towards progressing to the next round of the tournament.
The world rankings and the overall form guide do not make for good reading, however. Namibia dropped to 23rd in world rankings after failing in their pursuit of the Nations cup. Couple this with the fact that the Welwitschias lost all their pool matches in the 2015 World Cup and the reality check is put in place in terms of the team’s expectations.
Interestingly however, Namibia have shown the ability to go toe-to-toe with the best, especially when beating the eventual winners of the Nations Cup, Uruguay, early in the competition. Title success in the Gold Cup adds to that feeling.
Solo talents will undoubtedly play a key part in trying to inspire the team to a convincing World Cup run. Team captain, Johan Deysel, will be in this bracket and will look to lead the team against what is set to be a tough group stage for Namibia.

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