By Carlos Kambaekwa
Namibia is to despatch a 25-member travelling entourage to Chile, Santiago on Thursday for the Junior Rugby World Cup finals, starting on the 15th of this month.
The youngsters and the bulk of the Namibian Rugby Union (NRU) executive paid a courtesy call to one of the country’s leading car dealers Novel Ford to express their gratitude towards the company’s unwavering support in the development of rugby.
At the same occasion, the President of the NRU Dirk Conradie handed over a framed replica jersey to the General Manager of Novel Ford Ekkard van Wyk as a token of appreciation for the company’s generous support.
The replica jersey is similar to the one donned by the Welwitschias during the World Cup finals in France last year.
In his keynote address, newly appointed Springbok coach Pieter de Villiers pulled no punches and emphasized the importance of playing in World Cup finals – be it at junior or senior level.
“It should be the ambition of every young rugby player to emulate the feat of other great players who became instant national heroes by winning the coveted World Cup for their respective nations and you should start implementing that winning mentality, while still at the pinnacle of your playing career.”
The highly knowledgeable soft-spoken mentor urged the youngsters to adopt a more competitive approach when playing at the World Cup finals and not just go there for the sake of filling up numbers.
“I vividly remember the good old days of Namibian rugby when visiting teams used to shiver like a fired up ‘boere orkes’ from the mere mentioning of tackling the uncompromising South West Africa Rugby fifteen in their own backyard that became known as the slaughterhouse for visiting provinces,” recalled de Villiers.
De Villiers expressed hope that the current crop of youngsters would develop into a formidable outfit and rekindle the memories of local rugby through hard work, dedication and most importantly – an undying desire and pride to wear national colours.
The National Under-20s will be skippered by 19-year old flank Thomasau Forbes.
The youngsters have been involved in an intensive training programme that took them down under where they played against an invitational team from Namaqualand and several other warm-up matches in the southern mining town of Oranjemund.
The team wrap up their preparation with a date against the National Under-23 rugby fifteen at the Hage Geingob Stadium in Windhoek tomorrow afternoon before jetting out to Chile on Thursday.