Issued on behalf of the Namibian Rugby Union
As many as 13 international matches and Tests over the next year are in the pipeline for the Namibian national rugby team, the Welwitchias, it was announced in Windhoek on Wednesday.
The Namibia Rugby Union rolled out an extensive plan to prepare the Welwitchias for their 2015 Rugby World Cup campaign in England following a workshop in the country’s capital this past weekend.
A number of stakeholders attended the workshop including national coach Danie Vermeulen, former national coach John Williams (who was the team’s assistant coach at the 2007 World Cup), former Namibian captain Corne Powell, Irish strength and condition coach Dr Liam Hennessy, former Welsh international and Wales Under-20 coach Phil Davies, IRB consultant to Namibia Steph Nel, as well as the SARU GM for Development Mervin Green.
The blueprint for the plan stemmed from this think tank designed to look at aspects influencing the senior team’s performances.
Namibian Rugby Union President Bradley Basson emphasised the need for proper planning in the build-up to the international showpiece saying it was no longer good enough for Namibia simply to participate at the World Cup.
“It is very important to plan ahead as execution without planning is a recipe for disaster,” said Basson. “This time around we have opted to look at strategic planning sessions involving several stakeholders including the coaches and players.
“We also want to get our sponsors and the corporate sector involved to make sure that the team has our full backing. If we show them that we believe in them they will believe in themselves.”
The extensive campaign, which is set to include as many as 13 international matches, will start with a fixture at the end of October in Windhoek against either Zimbabwe or Germany.
This will be followed by a three-week visit to Europe where matches against Canada, the French Barbarians and Portugal have been pencilled in.
These matches, which are set to take place during the IRB’s international autumn window, will allow coach Danie Vermeulen to combine his Namibian and overseas-based players.
“The international tours will be vital because that is when all our overseas-based players will come in, which will allow us to play high-quality matches together. The planning will be technical because we have to look at the local guys as well as the professional players, and one has to look at how to get them together, so hopefully all of these plans materialise,” Vermeulen said.
In addition to the year-end tour, Namibia also hopes to be invited to the IRB Nations Cup in Romania as African Champions, which could result in another four matches.
Home test matches against Zimbabwe and Kenya are also planned for the second half of 2015.
Namibian Rugby Union CEO Sybrand de Beer also revealed that talks with SARU about Namibia’s possible participation in South Africa’s Vodacom Cup competition in the first half of 2015 were at an advanced stage.
“All of the fixtures are set and the plans have been put in place, so now it is a matter of getting the sponsors and money behind the plans in order to implement it,” said De Beer. “We are determined to ensure that the players don’t have anything to worry about off the field. Their focus has to be on becoming high performance rugby players and ensuring that they are well prepared when we arrive in London in September next year,” said De Beer.
01 November 2014 v Zimbabwe or Germany (TBC ) in Windhoek
07 November 2014 v Canada in North Wales
14 November 2014 v French Barbarians in Toulon
21 November 2014 v Portugal in Portugal (Venue to be confirmed)
March to May 2015 – Vodacom Cup (TBC)
June 2015 v Tunisia, Confederation of African Rugby 1A (Away)
June 2015 IRB Nations Cup Romania
July 2015 v Kenya and Zimbabwe (Windhoek)