Scrumhalf Damian Stevens, who was the youngest Namibian player at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England, is confident that the Welwitschias will win this year’s Africa Rugby Gold Cup after he helped Namibia beat Senegal 95-0 last weekend.
A win for the Welwitschias in the Africa Rugby Gold Cup will ensure that Namibia qualifies for a sixth consecutive world cup.
Stevens, who plays club rugby in South Africa for Natal Sharks XI, was part of the Welwitschias side that won the Confederation of African Rugby Cup last year in Windhoek.
He has established himself as a regular starter for Namibia under coach Phil Davies.
Stevens was also part of the Welwitschias squad that played at the 2017 World Rugby Nations Cup in Uruguay in June, where Namibia finished a disappointing fourth compared to last year’s third finish.
The Welwitschias top their six-team group with 10 points from two matches, followed by Kenya with eight points, Uganda in third position (six points) and Zimbabwe in fourth place (four points).
Senegal have one point from three matches, while Tunisia sit at the bottom of the table with no points from two games. Zimbabwe has only played one game so far.
Speaking after the match against Senegal, the excited Stevens said he was already looking forward to the next match against Zimbabwe this Saturday at the Hage Geingob stadium.
“It was a good win for us, we definitely have a big chance of winning the (Gold) cup,” he said.
Stevens, however, warned his teammates against complacency after the weekend win saying the next three matches against Zimbabwe, Uganda (22 July) and Kenya (29 July) would be tougher, as he rates the three nations highly.
Kenya are ranked third in Africa behind South Africa and Namibia, while Zimbabwe are in sixth place, Senegal in fifth and Uganda in fourth place on the continent.
“We will need our top players to be on top of their game against Zimbabwe and Kenya, as they are different opposition compared to Senegal. Our next three matches will be more competitive with Uganda also still to come,” Stevens said.
Welwitschias captain, Rohan Kitshoff, agreed with Stevens, adding that the team needed to be more physical if they are to win the upcoming games.
Kitshoff was voted the Man of the Match in the game against Senegal after scoring four tries on the day.
“It feels good to win, but I would like to take off my hat to my teammates for their good work. Zimbabwe are more physical and we will need to work harder,” Kitshoff said.
Africa Rugby Gold Cup Round 4Fixtures
Saturday, 15 July 2017
Kenya v Senegal (Nairobi
Uganda v Tunisia (Kampala)
Namibia v Zimbabwe (Windhoek)