By Carlos Kambaekwa
It took some magic from Namibia’s number ten, one Shaun McCully to bring the entire Cape Town to a standstill when the Namibian amateurs defeated the star studded Western Province in their own backyard in a Currie Cup match, and now ten solid years down the line – the two teams meet again to set the record straight.
Namibia’s Rugby Fifteen, the Welwitchias, as the team is affectionately known amongst its ardent fans, will be out to return the compliment to Gerhard Mans’ led team that defied all odds staked against them on that historic freezing Saturday afternoon at a packed Newlands Stadium in Cape Town, in 1988.
Newly appointed Welwitchias coach John Williams could not have asked for a better platform to announce his arrival and Saturday’s International Friendly against the visiting Western Province Rugby Fifteen is just what the good doctor has ordered.
Saturday’s match would certainly give the Cape Town born mentor an indication which players to select when Namibia opens her assault in the African World Cup Preliminaries against Senegal in Dakar on the 14th of this month. Namibia is pitted alongside Senegal and Zimbabwe in Pool-A.
Both winners from Group-A and B will fight it out for the first qualifying berth for the 2011 World Cup finals in New Zealand, whilst the runner up will be thrown another lifeline with a showdown against the lowly placed nations from the European Group for the final qualifying berth.
Williams has retained the bulk of the playing personnel that did duty for Namibia in the in the last World Cup Finals in France, last year.
Right flanker PJ van Lill and right lock Eugene Forbes are the only new faces in the starting lineup as Williams seek to find the right combination ahead of the World Cup Qualifiers.
“I know and understand its still early days, but I want the team to start jelling as soon as possible and Saturday’s match would certainly give us a clear indication as to where we are now in terms of technical awareness” says Williams.
Williams added that Namibia needs matches of this magnitude in the future to prepare the team better and gain the necessary experience required in modern rugby if Namibia is to reclaim its former glory days. Left flanker Jacques Nieuwenhuis will captain the side against Western Province.
Welwitchias, Western Province
15 TC Losper, Johan Pieterson
14 Deon Mouton, Wylie Human
13 David Philander, Dylan des Fountain
12 Hendrik van Zyl, PJ Vermeulen (Petrus)
11 Ryan Witbooi, Zhahier Ryland
10 Melrick Africa, Ricardo Croy
9 Eugene Jantjies, Alistair Siegelaar
8 Tinus Du Plessis, Justin Melck (Ryk)
7 PJ van Lill, David Hendricks
6 Jacques Nieuwenhuis, (C)Pieter Myburgh
5 Eugene Forbes, Rito Hlungwani
4 Uakazuvara Kazombiaze, Francois van der Merwe
3 Jane Du Toit, Juan Harris
2 Hugo Horn, Deon Fourie
1 Johny Redelinghuys, Schalk Ferreira
16 Hauta Veii, Mark Goosen
17 Ivan Gaya, Wicus Blaauw
18 Ockert Du Plessis, Ruaan du Preez
19 Gawan Esterhuizen, Adriaan Fondse
20 Elrich Jansen, Tyrone Holmes
21 John Drotsky, Francois Louw
22 Bradley Langenhoven, Danie van der Merwe
23 Desmond Haihambo, Geo Alpen
24 Deon Pieters, Terry Jacobs
25 Lu-Wayne Kotzee
26 JP Myburgh
27 Colin De Koe
Gregory Olivier, Chippie Solomon