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Big-name absence throws youngsters into deep end

Rugby
Andrew Poolman
A truly daunting task awaits the Namibian rugby team selected to face Portugal on Saturday, in the first home test match at Hage Geingob Stadium since the August 2018 win by 53-26 against Kenya.

The 26-year-old flank Prince !Gaoseb will captain the test side for the first time, having served his apprenticeship as leader of the Windhoek Beer Welwitschias during the 2023 SuperSport Challenge, and before that the national under-20 team.

!Gaoseb, whose 16 tests includes appearances at the 2019 and 2023 Rugby World Cups, will lead a new-look combination without a majority of experienced campaigners supporters would normally have expected to see.

Admittedly, thirteen of his starting team were in the World Cup squad to France last year and it could be argued that debutant Jay-Cee Nel would have been a certainty as well, if not for a delay in securing the necessary paper work. However, five players on the bench without a single previous test appearance among them tells a story.

Johan Deysel, the 32-year-old centre who led Namibia at the 2019 and 2023 World Cups and also played under Jacques Burger at England 2015, has yet to formally announce his international retirement. However, the absence of his 26-test experience, of which he captained the side 19 times, will doubtless be felt.

Tjiuee Uanivi (lock, 33 tests) was also a stand-in captain in two of his three World Cups, while none of Aranos Coetzee (31 tests), Torsten van Jaarsveld (23 tests), Louis van der Westhuizen (knee injury, 33 tests), Helarius Kisting (study commitments in Romania), Richard Hardwick, Tiaan de Klerk or the retired try-scoring record holder JC Greyling (29 tries in 46 tests) will take on the high-flying Europeans.

The absence of Cliven Loubser (27 tests, 230 points, five tries) at fly-half will be made up for by Tiaan Swanepoel (5 tests, 33 points), who joined last weekend from his first season in Japan’s second professional tier.

Loubser made solid contributions to his newly established franchise team in USA’s Major League Rugby, Anthem North Carolina, but was unfortunately ruled out for Namibia with a torn groin muscle, head coach Allister Coetzee confirmed.

Additionally, the hardened edge of Wian Conradie (30 tests, 14 tries) of USA’s New England Free Jacks, would have made a difference, but he has been ruled out with a season-ending knee injury

Three more Namibians’ franchises in USA are still involved in the upcoming play-off rounds, namely fullback Divan Rossouw (Seattle Seawolves; 9 tests, 3 tries), scrumhalf Damian Stevens (New Orleans Gold; 39 tests, 5 tries, 46 points) and centre Le Roux Malan (New England Free Jacks; 4 tests).

From the local club scene, the departures of fly-half Andre van der Berg (Wanderers to Limoges) and wing Gerswin Mouton (Reho Falcon / Wits University to Grenoble) to start new contracts in France were also unfortunate in its timing.



Opportunity for growth

At the team announcement yesterday, Allister Coetzee said the squad showed constant improvement in training since the warm-up defeat against the Blue Bulls and in preparation for the Portugal test.

“The last two weeks have brought a real step up with some injured players returning to the national side.

“We were beaten by the quality of the Bulls, but make no mistake, our squad is improving. I made eight changes to the starting lineup. Jason Benade, Obert Nortje and Adriaan Booysen did not play against the Bulls. Max Katjijeko, Jay-Cee Nel and Tiaan Swanepoel also joined us from outside the country. Their addition make a big difference through the experience they bring in key positions.”

Coetzee emphasised the importance of allowing young local players to gain top-level experience.

“This is a very young team. We need to ensure that our young talent gets the best coaching opportunities available and that is why I handed test debuts to Quirione Majiedt straight from Unam into the Portugal test; Armand Combrinck who was the hooker of this year’s U20 side to Zimbabwe; Jay-Cee Nel and on the bench we have AJ Kearns and Hillian Beukes who have stepped up since the 2023 SuperSport Challenge.”

Coetzee said he expects a tough match from Portugal. “We are playing a side that is ranked 16th in the world and we are currently at position 23. This match is however the first step as we need to play enough test matches of this nature over the next four years.”



Namibia (vs Portugal)

15 Jay-Cee Nel (Griquas, debut)

14 Quirione Majiedt (Unam, debut)

13 Alcino Izaacs (Unam, 5 tests)

12 Danco Burger (Wanderers, 10 tests, two tries)

11 Lloyd Jacobs (Kudus, debut)

10 Tiaan Swanepoel (Green Rockets Tokatsu, Japan; 5 tests, 33 points)

9 Jacques Theron (Wanderers, 5 tests)

8 Adriaan Booysen (no club, 18 tests, 4 tries)

7 Max Katjijeko (RFC Los Angeles, 24 tests, 2 tries)

6 Prince !Gaoseb (captain, Wanderers, 16 tests)

5 Johan Retief (Wanderers, 24 tests, 1 try)

4 Adriaan Ludick (Limoges, France, 12 tests, 2 tries)

3 Haitembu Shikufa (Leopards, 4 tests)

2 Obert Nortje (Wanderers, 22 tests, 6 tries)

1 Jason Benade (Unam, 17 tests)



Bench:

16 Armand Combrinck (Maties / WP U20, 0 tests)

17 Desiderius Sethie (Unam, 22 tests, 1 try)

18 Chemigan Beukes (Juvenia Kraków, 1 test)

19 Ruan Ludick (Chartres, France, 26 tests)

20 Peter Diergaardt (Wanderers, 0 tests)

21 AJ Kearns (Unam, 0 tests)

22 Denzo Bruwer (Wanderers, 0 tests)

23 Hilllian Beukes (Rehoboth, 0 tests)

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Namibian Sun 2024-07-17

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Currie Cup: NovaVit Griffons 10 vs 52 Vodacom Bulls Rugby World Cup U20: New Zealand U20 31 vs 55 France U20 | Australia U20 36 vs 29 Wales U20 | England U20 31 vs 20 Ireland U20 | Georgia U20 40 vs 36 Fiji U20 | Argentina U20 34 vs 24 South Africa U20 | Italy U20 28 vs 15 Spain U20 Katima Mulilo: 12° | 32° Rundu: 12° | 33° Eenhana: 11° | 33° Oshakati: 11° | 31° Ruacana: 14° | 31° Tsumeb: 15° | 29° Otjiwarongo: 9° | 28° Omaruru: 9° | 27° Windhoek: 8° | 23° Gobabis: 10° | 28° Henties Bay: 11° | 17° Wind speed: 18km/h, Wind direction: S, Low tide: 06:18, High tide: 12:50, Low Tide: 18:28, High tide: 00:54 Swakopmund: 13° | 15° Wind speed: 23km/h, Wind direction: SW, Low tide: 06:16, High tide: 12:48, Low Tide: 18:26, High tide: 00:52 Walvis Bay: 11° | 20° Wind speed: 28km/h, Wind direction: SW, Low tide: 06:16, High tide: 12:47, Low Tide: 18:26, High tide: 00:51 Rehoboth: 9° | 25° Mariental: 9° | 26° Keetmanshoop: 9° | 23° Aranos: 9° | 27° Lüderitz: 10° | 18° Ariamsvlei: 9° | 21° Oranjemund: 10° | 18° Luanda: 20° | 22° Gaborone: 11° | 28° Lubumbashi: 12° | 29° Mbabane: 12° | 28° Maseru: 5° | 21° Antananarivo: 8° | 24° Lilongwe: 15° | 27° Maputo: 16° | 32° Windhoek: 8° | 23° Cape Town: 11° | 14° Durban: 14° | 27° Johannesburg: 12° | 22° Dar es Salaam: 21° | 29° Lusaka: 15° | 28° Harare: 13° | 27° Currency: GBP to NAD 23.64 | EUR to NAD 19.88 | CNY to NAD 2.5 | USD to NAD 18.19 | DZD to NAD 0.13 | AOA to NAD 0.02 | BWP to NAD 1.3 | EGP to NAD 0.37 | KES to NAD 0.14 | NGN to NAD 0.01 | ZMW to NAD 0.69 | ZWL to NAD 0.04 | BRL to NAD 3.33 | RUB to NAD 0.21 | INR to NAD 0.22 | USD to DZD 133.77 | USD to AOA 872.64 | USD to BWP 13.49 | USD to EGP 48.17 | USD to KES 129.48 | USD to NGN 1555 | USD to ZAR 18.19 | USD to ZMW 26.05 | USD to ZWL 321 | Stock Exchange: JSE All Share Index Same 0 | Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX) Overall Index 1783.48 Down -2.4% | Casablanca Stock Exchange (CSE) MASI 13456.34 Up +0.17% | Egyptian Exchange (EGX) 30 Index 27828.92 Down -0.44% | Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) DCI 9380.4 Same 0 | NSX: MTC 7.75 SAME | Anirep 8.99 SAME | Capricorn Investment group 17.34 SAME | FirstRand Namibia Ltd 49 DOWN 0.50% | Letshego Holdings (Namibia) Ltd 4.1 UP 2.50% | Namibia Asset Management Ltd 0.7 SAME | Namibia Breweries Ltd 31.49 UP 0.03% | Nictus Holdings - Nam 2.22 SAME | Oryx Properties Ltd 12.1 UP 1.70% | Paratus Namibia Holdings 11.99 SAME | SBN Holdings 8.45 SAME | Trustco Group Holdings Ltd 0.48 SAME | B2Gold Corporation 47.34 DOWN 1.50% | Local Index closed 677.62 UP 0.12% | Overall Index closed 1534.6 DOWN 0.05% | Osino Resources Corp 19.47 DOWN 2.41% | Commodities: Gold US$ 2 472.66/OZ UP +0.17% | Copper US$ 4.44/lb DOWN -0.0043 | Zinc US$ 2 884.80/T DOWN -0.62% | Brent Crude Oil US$ 84.58/BBP UP +0.48% | Platinum US$ 1 022.43/OZ UP +1.97% Sport results: Currie Cup: NovaVit Griffons 10 vs 52 Vodacom Bulls Rugby World Cup U20: New Zealand U20 31 vs 55 France U20 | Australia U20 36 vs 29 Wales U20 | England U20 31 vs 20 Ireland U20 | Georgia U20 40 vs 36 Fiji U20 | Argentina U20 34 vs 24 South Africa U20 | Italy U20 28 vs 15 Spain U20 Weather: Katima Mulilo: 12° | 32° Rundu: 12° | 33° Eenhana: 11° | 33° Oshakati: 11° | 31° Ruacana: 14° | 31° Tsumeb: 15° | 29° Otjiwarongo: 9° | 28° Omaruru: 9° | 27° Windhoek: 8° | 23° Gobabis: 10° | 28° Henties Bay: 11° | 17° Wind speed: 18km/h, Wind direction: S, Low tide: 06:18, High tide: 12:50, Low Tide: 18:28, High tide: 00:54 Swakopmund: 13° | 15° Wind speed: 23km/h, Wind direction: SW, Low tide: 06:16, High tide: 12:48, Low Tide: 18:26, High tide: 00:52 Walvis Bay: 11° | 20° Wind speed: 28km/h, Wind direction: SW, Low tide: 06:16, High tide: 12:47, Low Tide: 18:26, High tide: 00:51 Rehoboth: 9° | 25° Mariental: 9° | 26° Keetmanshoop: 9° | 23° Aranos: 9° | 27° Lüderitz: 10° | 18° Ariamsvlei: 9° | 21° Oranjemund: 10° | 18° Luanda: 20° | 22° Gaborone: 11° | 28° Lubumbashi: 12° | 29° Mbabane: 12° | 28° Maseru: 5° | 21° Antananarivo: 8° | 24° Lilongwe: 15° | 27° Maputo: 16° | 32° Windhoek: 8° | 23° Cape Town: 11° | 14° Durban: 14° | 27° Johannesburg: 12° | 22° Dar es Salaam: 21° | 29° Lusaka: 15° | 28° Harare: 13° | 27° Economic Indicators: Currency: GBP to NAD 23.64 | EUR to NAD 19.88 | CNY to NAD 2.5 | USD to NAD 18.19 | DZD to NAD 0.13 | AOA to NAD 0.02 | BWP to NAD 1.3 | EGP to NAD 0.37 | KES to NAD 0.14 | NGN to NAD 0.01 | ZMW to NAD 0.69 | ZWL to NAD 0.04 | BRL to NAD 3.33 | RUB to NAD 0.21 | INR to NAD 0.22 | USD to DZD 133.77 | USD to AOA 872.64 | USD to BWP 13.49 | USD to EGP 48.17 | USD to KES 129.48 | USD to NGN 1555 | USD to ZAR 18.19 | USD to ZMW 26.05 | USD to ZWL 321 | Stock Exchange: JSE All Share Index Same 0 | Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX) Overall Index 1783.48 Down -2.4% | Casablanca Stock Exchange (CSE) MASI 13456.34 Up +0.17% | Egyptian Exchange (EGX) 30 Index 27828.92 Down -0.44% | Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) DCI 9380.4 Same 0 | NSX: MTC 7.75 SAME | Anirep 8.99 SAME | Capricorn Investment group 17.34 SAME | FirstRand Namibia Ltd 49 DOWN 0.50% | Letshego Holdings (Namibia) Ltd 4.1 UP 2.50% | Namibia Asset Management Ltd 0.7 SAME | Namibia Breweries Ltd 31.49 UP 0.03% | Nictus Holdings - Nam 2.22 SAME | Oryx Properties Ltd 12.1 UP 1.70% | Paratus Namibia Holdings 11.99 SAME | SBN Holdings 8.45 SAME | Trustco Group Holdings Ltd 0.48 SAME | B2Gold Corporation 47.34 DOWN 1.50% | Local Index closed 677.62 UP 0.12% | Overall Index closed 1534.6 DOWN 0.05% | Osino Resources Corp 19.47 DOWN 2.41% | Commodities: Gold US$ 2 472.66/OZ UP +0.17% | Copper US$ 4.44/lb DOWN -0.0043 | Zinc US$ 2 884.80/T DOWN -0.62% | Brent Crude Oil US$ 84.58/BBP UP +0.48% | Platinum US$ 1 022.43/OZ UP +1.97%