Namibia expects tough encounters against the visiting Uruguay rugby national team, coach Phil Davies has said.
The Welwitschias will play two test matches against Uruguay, starting this Saturday, at the Hage Geingob Stadium.
Davies, who recently came back to Namibia after spending a few months in his native country, Wales, said that he expects very tough encounters against a Uruguay team that won the 2017 World Rugby Nations Cup.
Namibia finished in fourth position in that tournament that was played in Montevideo, Uruguay in June this year.
The second test match against Uruguay will be played on 25 November, also at the Hage Geingob Stadium.
Uruguay have brought along its strongest squad of 25 players.
The Uruguay team arrived in Namibia on Sunday and they are currently training at the Windhoek Gymnassium Private School.
The two test matches are crucial in preparing the Namibian team for qualification for the 2019 Rugby World Cup during June/July 2018.
They also form part of the Namibia Rugby Union (NRU) centennial celebrations.
“The tests will be very tough, they (Uruguay) will be far more prepared than us and are playing at a higher level, so it will be very tough, but good preparation for next year’s World Cup qualifiers,” Davies said.
Defence coach, Roger Thompson, who has been monitoring training sessions in the absence of Davies, however, said that the Welwitschias have what it takes to beat Uruguay, even though most of the foreign-based players will be missing in the first test match.
Namibia started training on Monday.
“Definitely we have a big chance of winning even though we will not have most of our professional players in the first match. The players are excited and looking forward for the challenge,” Thompson said.
Uruguay are currently ranked 19th in the world, while Namibia is in position 21, but a win for the Welwitschias in both tests could see them climb up the rankings.
“If we beat Uruguay, we are likely to move up to 17 or 18 in the world and that will be good next year when the qualifiers of the World Cup starts,” Thompson further said.
The gates at the Hage Geingob Stadium will open at 12H00. The country’s U-19 and U-20 national teams will play against each other at 13H00 as a curtain raiser to the Welwitschias/Uruguay match.
Entrance to the match is N$50, while students will pay N$10.
Tickets are available at Web tickets and the match will start at 16H00.
Namibia’s squad against Uruguay:
Casper Viviers, André Rademeyer, Nelius Theron, Collen Smith, AJ de Klerk,Obert Nortjé, Niël van Vuuren, Tjiuee Uanivi (only available for second test), Adriaan Ludick, Johan Retief, Ruan Ludick, Mahepisa Tjeriko, Max Katjijeko, Prince !Goaseb, Rohan Kitshoff, Christo van der Merwe, Thomasau Forbes, Adriaan Booysen, Helarius Kisting, Eugene Jantjies, Damian Stevens, Theuns Kotzé, Cliven Loubser, PW Steenkamp, Darryl de la Harpe, Justin Newman, JC Greyling, Lesley Klim, Heinrich Smit, David Philander, Johann Tromp, Gino Wilson and Chrysander Botha.