Burger back to lead Namibia

Date published: November 4 2014

Namibia coach Danie Vermeulen has made 10 changes to his starting XV for Friday’s clash with Canada in Colwyn Bay.

Namibia coach Danie Vermeulen has made 10 changes to his starting XV for Friday’s clash with Canada in Colwyn Bay in their opening match of their northern hemisphere tour.

Two of the changes are positional switches. Saracens loose-forward Jacques Burger will captain the team in his first appearance for Namibia since the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

Burger replaces Thomasua Forbes while Tinus du Plessis moves from eighth-man to the side of the scrum in places of Rohan Kitshoff who will be on the bench. PJ van Lill who joined the team Monday evening in Colwyn Bay from France will start the match in his familiar number eight jersey.

Vermeulen explained that the changes to the team, in particular the back row, had more to do with a rotational policy than form.

” We are delighted to have Jacques back and he has immediately made a major impact on the vibe in the squad,” he said.

“He had 52 minutes for Saracens against Harlequins over the weekend and we would like to give him as much game-time as possible against Canada.”

Veteran prop Johnnie Redelinghuys will start at loose-head in the place of Jaco Engels who will join the team later this week while Tjiuee Uanive will make his first start at the expense of Nico Esterhuyse who was injured just before the team’s departure for Wales.

Eneill Buitendag gets a start at scrum-half where he will pair up with French-based fly-half Theuns Kotze, both promoted to the starting line-up after coming off the bench in last week’s 58-20 victory against Germany in Windhoek.

On the left wing David Philander gets the nod ahead of Johan Tromp who is on the bench. In the second positional switch Danie Dames moves from fullback to right wing making way for Exeter Chiefs full-back Chrysander Botha.

Windhoek United’s Franklin Bertholini is the only uncapped player in the matchday 23 and is likely to earn his first Test cap from the bench.

Coach Vermeulen said with three very tough matches ahead it was important to give as many players as possible a run against Canada.

” We expect the Canadians to be extremely physical, we know that we will probably pick up an injury or two so we need to manage the players to ensure we remain competitive in all our matches.”

Namibia: 15 Chrysander Botha, 14 Danie Dames, 13 Darryl de la Harpe, 12 Johan Deysel, 11 David Philander, 10 Theuns Kotz