NRU holds successful U-20 trials

29 Jan 2017 16:50pm
WINDHOEK, 29 JAN (NAMPA) – The Namibia Rugby Union (NRU) on Saturday held successful Under-20 rugby trials at the Hage Geingob Stadium in Windhoek in preparation for two upcoming international tournaments.
The trials were attended by about 65 boys, who displayed impressive talent as they attempted to win the coaches’ faith in securing their places in the team.
The trials were held under the supervision of national team coach Rodger Thompson, who told Nampa he was impressed by the talent and skill displayed on the day.
“We are looking at assembling a squad of about 50 junior players who will take part in various training camps in preparation for the African Cup from 17 to 23 April and the World Junior Rugby Trophy from 26 August till 11 September in Uruguay,” he said.
The venue for the African Cup is not yet known.
Namibia qualified for the Junior World Rugby Trophy when they won the U-19 Africa Cup in August last year when they beat Zimbabwe 42-29 in the U19 Africa Cup final in Windhoek.
He also said the training group should be finalised by the end of this week, with the first training camp starting next week.
“We want to assemble a squad of 50 players whom we will work with through our national academy set up,” he added.
The players eligible for selection should have been born between 01 January 1997 and 31 December 1998.
Thompson noted that everything went well during the trials, even though the players lacked fitness due the fact that they are coming from an off-season.
He also stated that they did not experience any major injuries during the trials.
“Most of our players are not from a professional set-up, so they obviously did not follow any fully fledged off-season programme. With regards to the technical skill and natural talent, I was impressed,” he said.
He also emphasised that it is imperative that they harness this talent at an early age so as to equip the budding rugby stars with proper conditioning, fitness and technical skills early in their careers to help them develop into world class stars.
Plans are at an advanced stage with regards to the training camps, with the union likely to engage South African university teams to play friendly games in preparation for the two upcoming major tournaments.
Last year Namibia played in the Africa Cup Bronze Final for the first time ever where they lost 44-30 to Fiji to finish fourth overall.
The coach said they are planning on improving on last year’s performance.