Loubser ready to get his World Cup kicks

19 September 2019 | Sports

Four years ago, Cliven Loubser was inspired after watching his native Namibia score a try against New Zealand and earn their first Rugby World Cup point from a 17-16 defeat to Georgia.

Those two magic moments gave him and the rest of the nation hope that they would not just be making up the numbers at the 2019 Japan Rugby World Cup.

He is an avid fan of two of the game's greatest kickers, Jonny Wilkinson and Dan Carter.

“I watch videos of both of them,” he said. “Jonny steps four times back and five to the side and that's what I've done for the past year.

“I stand still. We've learned something from our mental coach we call 'red to blue'. So when I prepare to kick, I think red to blue, red to blue, just to do my processes and kick through the ball.”

All going well; the young talent from Rehoboth will make his World Cup debut against Italy on Sunday, lining up alongside Johan Deysel.

“Johan has been dining off that try ever since,” Loubser said at Namibia's training ground at Kamitonda. “Hopefully, we can do that again - maybe this time it's me.

“But our point against Georgia was a really important moment - we almost got our first victory. I think Deysel and the others, who played four years ago, believe even more that we can win this time around.

“I'd just like to have a good World Cup, do the basics right, and from then hopefully do some magical stuff that people back home would remember and be proud of.”

At 22, Loubser is making swift progress in the Namibian jersey. In just 15 international appearances, his 159 test points already ranks fourth in Welwitschias' history behind Theuns Kotzé (430), Jaco Coetzee (335) and Chrysander Botha (215).

His skills have been honed at the academies of South African Super Rugby teams, the Bulls and Sharks, and he has had sessions with former Springbok flyhalf and renowned kicking coach Braam van Straaten, who is helping Namibia during the tournament.

Namibia's head coach Phil Davies describes Loubser as a “quiet, shy, prodigious talent”, but the player is not lacking any confidence in his kicking abilities.

“Against Italy, there will be a lot of people and there's definitely pressure, but I try to not think about my surroundings,” Loubser said.

“I just imagine I'm back home in Windhoek kicking a ball. At sea level my range is about 50 to 55 metres – just behind the halfway line.”

So if Namibia get an early chance from halfway would be take it? “Yeah, sure, 50 metres, I'd go for it. If I get it over, it will give us all huge confidence,” he said.

Absolute Rugby

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