Pool D - Namibia
Pity the Welwitschias for at RWC 2007 anything in a Namibian jersey will be chewed-up and spat out. Namibia is a third-tier rugby nation and easily the worst team participating. IRB rankings place them 25 in the world – the lowest ranked team making the trip to France. Namibia's main problem is that they contest too few full internationals, and therefore lack experience.
So inexperienced are the Namibians that Coach Hakkies Husselman has included two uncapped players in his squad. Recent Namibian form demonstrates this dearth of experience. In the 2007 Nations Cup, Namibia failed to win a single game, struggling against Georgia, Romania and Argentina A. In their 15 August warm-up match Namibia were hammered 105-13 by the Springboks – South African fullback Percy Montgomery scored a record 35 test points. However, Namibia show limited promise with pundits praising their tenacity and aggressive tackling. Debuting in 1999, Namibia have yet to win a RWC game. Facing Pool D opponents Argentina, France and Ireland, a RWC win should elude the Welwitschias for at least another four years.
Coach: Hakkies Husselmann (Nam)
Captain: Kees Lensing
IRB Ranking: 14
Appearances: 1999, 2003
Odds to win: 5000/1
Number of clubs: 19
Number of Registered players: 10,928
Matches MT W D L
7 1 0 7
Points For Against
Scores Tr Con Pen DG
8 6 6 0
At 6' and 105 kg, Berger is a bulky and powerful number 8. He has won six test caps for Namibia, but is establishing himself as an effective back row player and regular starter. Plays professionally but is not an elite. For the 2007 sesason Berger will move from Wildeklawer Griquas in South Africa to Stade Aurillacois Cantal Auvergne – a French Pro second division team.
Namibia's starting fly-half and designated place-kicker Emile Wessles is a utility back, but is most comfortable at fly-half. Wessles is not an imposing figure standing at just 5'11” and 85 kg, his main strength is that he can cover at least three backline positions, giving him a unique understanding of backline play. Another non-elite professional, he currenlty plays centre for Australia division one side the Tuggeranong Vikings.
Prop Kees Lensing is Namibia's captain and their most experienced professional. At 6'1” and 120 kg, Lensing is a solid prop, effective at the breakdown and good at snatching-up loose ball. Lensing's career epicentre is South Africa as a former Blue Bull and a current member of Super 14 side, Natal Sharks. Won his first test cap in 1992 in Namibia's record 116-0 win over Madagascar.
Rugby in Namibia
Nicknamed the ‘Welwitschias' after an unusual plant of the region, the Namibian team have represented their country twice at the World Cup. This country in southern Africa, on the Atlantic coast and bordering South Africa, is the second least densely populated country in the world, after Mongolia. Residents from neighbouring South Africa had played rugby there since 1916, but the Namibian Rugby Union was not formed until 1990, the same year the country gained independence. The following year they beat Ireland and Italy, players having spent several years in South Africa's Currie Cup.