The FNB Welwitschias face a baptism of fire when they make their debut in this year’s Vodacom Cup against the Xerox Golden Lions at 19h00 on Friday night.
The Welwitschias, who last played in the Vodacom Cup four years ago, will face a strong Lions outfit containing some of South Africa’s most exciting young talents.
Their highly rated hooker Malcolm Marx represented the Junior Springboks last year and made his Super 15 debut against the Hurricanes last month, while Lions coach Johan Ackerman has already compared him to Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis.
“He is very young, but he could definitely become the next Bismarck… He worked really hard at his fitness in pre-season. He’s moveable, but still as strong as an ox,” he was quoted as saying.
The loose head prop Dylan Smith is also highly rated, while the towering 2,09m lock JP du Preez made his Super 15 debut against the Sharks last month.
Flanker Cyle Brink is also highly rated and played for the Junior Boks last year, the other flanker Ruan Ackerman is the son of Lions’ coach Johan Ackerman, while wing Mark Richards played for the Springbok Sevens team last year.
Other promising youngsters that a lot is expected of include eighthman Ruaan Lerm, lock Steph de Wit, centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg and flyhalf Ashlon Davids, while some of the experienced players in the squad are centre Alwyn Hollenbach, wing Alwyn Hollenbach and scrumhalf and captain Ricky Schroeter.
The Namibian team also includes several youngsters, with flyhalf Henrique Olivier and centre Lesley Klim being members of the national U20 squad, while prop Andries Rosseau and eighthman Zanna Botes represented the U21 Limpopo Blue Bulls and Golden Lions respectively last year.
Several other players will be making their debut for the Welwitschias including fullback Russell van Wyk, wing Phillip Nashikaku, lock Ulrich Engels and prop Quintin Esterhuizen, while the side will be captained by experienced centre Darryl de la Harpe. Some of the other experienced members in the team include wing Johann Tromp, scrumhalf Arthur Bouwer, hooker Rathony Becker and lock Morne Blom.
Welwitschias’ assistant coach Roger Thompson said it would be a big challenge but they were aiming to make the nation proud.
“We have a relatively young team but we have some exciting talents who bring a lot to the game. These guys are eager to make the nation proud, and I think the nation can expect a lot from them. They are exciting youngsters who can add value to the game – it’s a big challenge for them against the Golden Lions but I think they can step up,” he said.
“Leslie and Flaffie (Henrique Olivier) are part of our U20 setup and Zanna was part of the U21 setup at the Golden Lions. I’m positive and especially being the backline coach, I’m positive that they can step up. They are talented and skilled and as the saying goes, if you are good enough, you are old enough,” he added.
Madri Frewer, the marketing manager at FNB Namibia said that numerous activities are planned to turn the rugby evenings into unforgettable family outings.
“First of all, the gates open at 17h00 – so the whole family is welcome to come and have dinner, a drink, fun and great rugby at the Hage Geingob Stadium. Lots of fun activations will see visitors walk away with tickets for the next games, give-aways and an amazing vibe created by professional MC’s, DJs, Dancers and other activators. We are proud to present this first interactive sport event to Namibians,” she said.
There will also be a ‘kick-for-cash’ competition at halftime, with N$1 000 up for grabs.
Courtesy of allAfricaTagged under Welwitschias