Namibia’s rugby team, despite their aspirations, has yet to secure a victory in a World Cup match. As they regrouped in Aix-les-Bains, their coach, Allister Coetzee, addressed the media on Thursday, emphasizing the need for the team to face top-tier opponents more frequently.
“In the span of the last two months, we’ve played as many test matches as we did in the past four years,” Coetzee, who also helmed the Springboks between 2016 and 2018, remarked.
Detailing their recent matches, Coetzee noted,
“We had three matches in South America, including one against Uruguay in Montevideo, and four here. That’s seven test matches in total. To put it in perspective, our team played only eight matches in the previous four years. This year, we matched that count in just three months. It’s evident that with more test matches under our belt, our preparations would be significantly better.”
Namibia, currently ranked 21st globally, concluded their campaign with a 36-26 loss to Uruguay. Their overall performance saw them amass a mere 37 points across four games, while conceding a staggering 255 points. This includes the memorable match against France, where Namibian captain Johan Deysel’s tackle resulted in a fractured cheekbone for Antoine Dupont.
Despite these setbacks, Coetzee remains optimistic about the future, especially looking ahead to the 2027 World Cup in Australia. He believes that a single monumental victory could be transformative for Namibian rugby, drawing parallels with Japan’s unexpected triumph over South Africa in the 2015 World Cup.
“Japan’s 34-32 win over South Africa in Brighton was a game-changer. The trajectory of Japanese rugby shifted dramatically post that victory. I’ve always aspired for Namibia to have a similar defining moment,” Coetzee shared.
That victory indeed propelled Japan to greater heights, as they not only hosted the 2019 World Cup but also advanced to the quarter-finals, registering wins against heavyweights like Ireland and Scotland. The Japanese squad remains determined to replicate that success in the ongoing World Cup in France.
Coetzee’s parting words reflected his unwavering belief in his team’s potential.
“The crux of the matter is to believe in the possibility. That’s the mindset I’ve endeavoured to foster since our arrival here,” he concluded.