Namibia’s national elite rugby team, Windhoek Draught Welwitschias, will this weekend clash with Uruguay on the road to the world cup with certain players off the list due to injuries and others outside the country studying.
“We would have liked to this year bring some of the momentum into the test series but because of injuries as well and commitments to studies, we had our momentum hampered,” said head coach Roger Thompson.
Between 12 to 15 players are currently not available.
He said he is bent on keeping on developing the local base of players which will likely be the squad that will be fielded in the first test up against Uruguay.
“We will select some of the young-stars next year, they have at least got some experience already before we go into the qualification,” said the head coach.
He currently has about 35 players in camp, busy with preparations for the upcoming match.
He said, “What we would like to achieve is to get as much possible national preparations for the upcoming qualifications in June and July next year.”
Limping from such a blow, the stand off this weekend looks unlikely as to be tipped in the favour of the home team, as Thompson admitted.
“It will definitely not be easy. Uruguay have won the nations cup this year, they have also come from a very good recent tournament in the Americas Pacific Challenge, and they did very well. But looking back at the nations where they won last June, looking a couple of months down the line, they will definitely have improved. So it will be tough opposition,” he said.
Hosted by Uruguay and all games having had been played at the Estadio Charrua in Montevideo, the 2017 World Rugby Americas Pacific Challenge was the second tournament of the challenge.
This is a development competition for the Americas and Pacific island nations.
Yet Thompson sees the match off with the world’s number 19 team as the best for the boys ahead of the world cup
“It’s important for us to continue to play oppositions that are ranked higher than us, Uruguay is currently ranked 19th in the world. We are currently sitting on 21. Should we be successful in this series and ultimately win the two matches ahead it will place us in a good position in terms of our ranking,” he said.
He added, “As a group, we will continue to build confidence going into the qualification next year. It’s a very important year next year with regards to the national calendar. We need to qualify for rugby 2019 in Japan.”
So far, Thompson said the match fixtures for the African Cup 2018 haven’t been released yet, so his sole focus will be set in the upcoming test match series.