Geingob sees off Welwitschias

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Timo Shihepo

Windhoek - Namibian President Hage Geingob has wished the Namibian rugby team, Welwitschias, all the success at the 2019 Rugby World Cup and said that he hopes to see the country finally winning its first ever match at the global showpiece.

This is the sixth time that the Welwitschias are taking part in the Rugby World Cup but are yet to win a single game. The Welwitschias came close to ending that drought in Exeter four years ago, but Theuns Kotzé's late try could not prevent a 17-16 defeat to Georgia at Sandy Park.

At the 2019 World Cup in Japan expected to start on 20 September, the Welwitschias are in a tough pool B in which they will face South Africa, New Zealand, Italy and Canada.  

The Welwitschias suffered heavy losses against South Africa and New Zealand at the World Cup. They have never faced Italy while they have faced Canada several times – a team they are targeting to defeat at this year’s World Cup.

Going into next week’s World Cup, Canada is just ranked one place higher than Namibia. Canada is ranked 21 while Namibia is ranked 22. They are the two lowest ranked teams in the competition.

During the Welwitschias State House visit this week, Geingob urged the team to get that first elusive win.

“I wish you a successful 2019 Rugby World Cup success, as you leave for Japan from 20 September to 2 November. Get that win. We can get it against Canada. Go represent the country well,” he said.

Former fearless Welwitschias captain Jacques Burger also wished the team well ahead of their opener on the 22 September against Italy.

Namibia will open their campaign against Italy in Higashiosaka City on 22 September before games against South Africa, New Zealand and Canada.

Phill Davies’ side finished fourth at the World Rugby Nations Cup 2019 in June despite beating hosts Uruguay 30-28 in Montevideo. 

“What I would like to see from Namibia at the World Cup? First win would be awesome but pride, bravery and ruthless competitiveness would be enough for me. Never say die balls to the wall rugby. Go get them boys,” he said.

Namibia rounded off its World Cup preparations by defeating Southern Kings 21-17 in Walvis Bay last weekend.  

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