The Namibian Rugby Union has confirmed that the national team will play two Test matches against Russia in Windhoek next month.
The dates have been set for July 11 and 18 in the Namibian capital. The two matches will be part of the extensive campaign the Namibian Rugby Union has rolled out to ensure the national team is adequately prepared for the Rugby World Cup.
According to NRU CEO Sybrand de Beer, the two matches were arranged after the NRU approached World Rugby.
“We were looking at teams with profiles similar to those who we will be facing at RWC 2015. Teams with big, physical players, good in the set phases because if we look at teams like New Zealand, Argentina and Georgia, that’s the kind of opposition we can expect,” said De Beer.
According to De Beer, Uruguay were also approached but they couldn’t accept the invitation. But, through the support of World Rugby, the NRU was able to secure the two Test matches against the Russians.
“The Russians are looking forward to the visit very much and we are busy putting the final arrangements in place for their visit,” said De Beer.
The two Test matches will be part of an extensive nine-match program in the build-up to Namibia’s Rugby World Cup campaign. This started with the 22-14 win over Tunisia last Saturday in an Africa Cup match in Nabeul. This Friday in Bucharest, Namibia will play the Argentine Jaguars in the opening match of the Nations Cup hosted by Romania.
This will be followed by Test matches against Romania and Spain. In July, Namibia will host Russia who narrowly missed out on Rugby World Cup 2015 and in August Namibia will play two more matches at home, against Kenya and Zimbabwe in the Africa Cup respectively.
Russia are currently ranked 19th on World Rugby’s Rankings with Namibia in 22nd position. Namibian coach Danie Vermeulen welcomed the opportunity to play against stronger opposition in his team’s build-up.
“Russia regularly play against Romania and Georgia and Georgia is in our pool at the Rugby Wold Cup and those two test matches against Russia will be of massive value for us. We will be playing nine matches before we leave for England and I believe that it would be the best preparation Namibia have ever had going to a Rugby World Cup tournament.” Vermeulen said from Bucharest where his team is preparing for Friday’s Nations Cup match against the Argentine Jaguars.
Namibia’s fixtures leading up to RWC 2015:
June 13: v Argentine Jaguars in Bucharest (Nations Cup)
June 17: v Romania in Bucharest (Nations Cup)
June 21: v Spain in Bucharest (Nations Cup)
July 11: v Russia in Windhoek (Friendly)
July 18: v Russia in Windhoek (Friendly)
Aug 8: v Kenya in Windhoek (Africa Cup 1A)
Aug 15: v Zimbabwe in Windhoek (Africa Cup 1A)