Ex-Namibia coach lifts lid on farce

Date published: June 29 2015

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Former Namibia head coach Danie Vermeulen has spoken out over a number of problems with the NRU that led to his departure.

The former international coach discussed the number of obstacles he faced in an open letter to Die Republikein, including the shocking relevation that the union refused to replace his wheelchair after it was stolen in Tunisia.

Welsh coach Phil Davies is now in charge of the side for the World Cup, with Vermeulen saying that the two clashed over selection policy after Davies requested full control when it came to picking the XV despite being initially appointed as an advisor.

The NRU additionally refused his requests to appoint more assistant coaches after his backline coach Walter Donn resigned in protest at the NRU's open criticism of Vermeulen.

Vermeulen was also accused of racism towards the coloured players in his squad, despite no evidence being produced, had requests for players he wanted to select turned down and suffered a crucial lack of support from the NRU president Bradley Basson.

"It is with a heavy heart that I have resigned as national rugby coach. It was not an easy decision, but it was taken without emotion and with the best interests of the players in mind," Vermeulen said.

"Many people could not understand why we performed so badly against Kenya and Zimbabwe, after we beat Western Province and nearly beat the Blue Bulls as well. But what they don't know is that the NRU ordered me to limit my training sessions to two per week because they felt the players rather had to play club rugby.

"This resulted in the players not being conditioned properly while they couldn't maintain a high work rate for four World Cup qualifying matches in a row.

"The fact that we still managed to qualify for the World Cup was a miracle and an act of God."

"After our qualification, the NRU again decided that the players had to play club rugby rather than prepare for the European tour in November last year. Needless to say, we didn't win a match on the tour," he added.

"After the November tour I was informed that the coloured payers in the squad had laid complaints of racism against me which were shocking. I requested to see the complaints, but till today I have not received them. I also haven't received any explanation from the NRU and the issue was never resolved."

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