Following an impressive and near-faultless showing in their opening match against the world’s finest rugby playing nation, New Zealand, Namibia’s giant lock Tjiuee Uanivi is attracting interest from Aviva Premiership clubs.
ESPN reports that two top-flight clubs have already been in contact with the player’s representatives to sound out the possibility of netting him, with the bearded Uanivi currently unattached, after leaving Brive at the end of last season.
He came close to agreeing a move to Worcester earlier in the summer, but the club opted for an England-qualified player instead, due to Aviva Premiership restrictions. Uanivi can play across the back-row and in the second row. He shone against the All Blacks last week, causing all sorts of havoc in the set pieces and stealing two lineouts on New Zealand’s throw.
Namibia coach Phil Davies was asked about Uanivi’s qualities post-match. “We were happy with the way we contested in the lineout. We talked about getting boys up in the air and once we settled down we won some good momentum. We scored a try off the lineout, so that was a positive aspect. It’s a good building block for next week.”
Namibia hunts for first win at IRB W/Cup
They might be the lowest-ranked rugby playing union at the IRB World Cup underway in England, but the underdog tag must surely have eased the pressure on the Namibian part-timers as they enter their second match of the global showpiece.
Following a gutsy display against what is arguably the finest rugby team in the world, the much-improved Namibian team must be fancying their chances when they trot onto the field to face Pacific Islanders Tonga in a match destined to define their genuine strength and how far they can go in the tournament.
Many thought beating the Namibian part-timers would be a walk in the park, considering the pedigree of their opponents, the defending champions. Considering that the All Blacks have been brushing their opponents aside with brutal force since becoming IRB World Champions by waltzing past a stubborn French team in the final on Australian soil in 2011, the Welwitschias were in for a bruising battle and stood to receive a hiding second to none.
However, the Namibians were not to be overawed by the moment and certainly made the doubting Thomasses sit up and eat humble pie. Now it’s time to stand up and be counted against opponents, who are certainly there for the taking. As opposed to their participation in the global rugby showpiece previously, the Welwitschias have this time assembled the strongest team ever and enjoyed some of the greatest preparation prior to the their departure to the United Kingdom.
– Additional reporting espn.co.uk