Burger to lead Welwitschias on European tour
WINDHOEK – Jacques Burger will captain the Namibian senior rugby team when the IRB World Cup-bound Welwitschias take on Canada in Colwyn Bay, Wales on the 7th of next month in their opening game of their three-match European tour.
Coach Danie Vermeulen has named six new caps, including Free State Cheetahs hooker Torsten van Jaarsveld in the strong 29-member squad.
Debutants Franklin Bertholini, Niel Rautenbach, JC Greyling, Tjiuee Uanivi and Russel van Wyk have also been included in the travelling entourage.
The team leaves for Wales (UK) on the 2nd of next month and boasts a wealth of talent in the loose forward department while Vermeulen will be able to draw on the experience of Western Province’s Rohan Kitshoff, PJ van Lill and Tinus du Plessis.
In total, the Namibian squad features four players from the Currie Cup, four France-based players and two players with experience in the Aviva Premiership, Burger and Chrysander Botha, while the balance of the squad is made up of locally based players.
Burger will captain the squad in the opening match against Canada at Colwyn Bay before returning to club duties at Saracens.
Rohan Kitshoff will then lead the team in the remaining two matches against the French Barbarians and Portugal.
Vermeulen named his squad after trials in Windhoek followed by a series of training camps in the Namibian capital.
“We have a pool of very talented players locally but these players need more exposure at a higher level. The quality of our club rugby needs to improve before we can expect these players to move from club to professional rugby – the gap is just too big,” said Vermeulen.
Namibia suffered a major setback when South African based loose forward Renaldo Bothma was ruled out of the touring party with a fractured cheekbone while playing for the Pumas in the Currie Cup competition.
The coach expressed satisfaction with the performance of 24-year-old lock Tjiuee Uanivi, who plays for Brive in France. “I had the privilege of coaching him since he left school and always knew that someday he would play for Namibia. He is a very good line-out jumper.”
The team received a major boost following the availability of Niel Rautenbach and Torsten van Jaarveld.
According to Vermeulen, the 27-year-old Van Jaarsveld will add massive value to the national team.
“He is a strong scrummager who possesses outstanding lineout work and can also play as loose forward.
“The inclusion of both Van Jaarsveld and Rautenbach is subject to the individuals obtaining the required travel documents before the team departs for the UK next month.”
Namibia confronts Germany at the United Club Stadium in Windhoek on October 29.
The travelling entourage reads as follows: (*) denotes new caps.
Forwards: Rathony Becker, Franklin Bertholini*, Mornè Blom, Jacques Burger, Tinus du Plessis, Jaco Engels, Nico Esterhuyse, Thomasua Forbes, Rohan Kitshoff, Niel Rautenbach, Johnnie Redelinghuys, Andre Schlechter, PJ van Lill, Tjiuee Uanivi*, Casper Viviers, Torsten van Jaarsveld*.
Backs: Chrysander Botha, Eneill Buitendag, Danie Dames, Darryl de la Harpe, Ryan de la Harpe, Johan Deysel, JC Greyling*, Shaun Kaizemi, Theuns Kotze, Malcolm Moore, David Philander, Johan Tromp and Russel van Wyk*.
29 October Windhoek – Germany
07 November Colwyn Bay – Canada
14 November Toulon – French Barbarians
21 November Lisbon – Portugal
Courtesy The New Era