Burger captains Namibia Rugby World Cup squad

Saracens loose-forward Jacques Burger will captain Namibia in the upcoming
Rugby World Cup in England and will lead a squad where 14 of the 31 players
selected have previous Rugby World Cup experience.

The squad was named in Windhoek on Thursday following a four-day training camp
held in Durban, South Africa.

Burger is amongst four members of the squad that will be appearing in their
third Rugby World Cup, with prop Johnnie Redelinghuys, loose-forward Tinus du
Plessis and scrum-half Eugene Jantjies also part of the Namibian teams that
participated in France 2007 and New Zealand 2011.

Redelinghuys is Namibia highest capped player of all time with 46 test matches
to his credit.

Nine players, Raoul Larson, Rohan Kitshoff, PJ van Lill, Theuns Kotze,
Darryl de La Harpe, Danie van Wyk, Conrad Marais, David Philander and Chrysander
Botha also did duty in New Zealand in 2011.

Another feature of the squad is the inclusion of three players under the age
of 21 in hooker Louis van der Westhuizen, flank Wian Conradie and scrum-half
Damian Stevens.
The squad has an average of almost twenty test matches per player and an average
age of just over 26.

Namibia’s Head Coach Phil Davies says the squad has a good combination
of good experienced players mixed with youthful exuberance.

“There’s a lot of things you have to consider when making a selection
like this, the dynamics of the group is very important and I think we have a
number of young, but inexperienced players whose exuberance is rubbing off on
the more experienced players. I think it is the strongest group of players who
we could have picked to select Namibia at the Rugby World Cup. There’s
some good versatility and a big number of players are in good form as we showed
recently when we won four test matches and moved up to number 20 on the world
rankings.”

Davies admitted that it was very difficult to make the final selection as Namibia
had developed depth in some positions over the last couple of months.

“It was tough, we have good depth in the midfield, lots of talent in
the back three, and also in our back-row. We do have some world-class players
in Jacques Burger and Renaldo Bothma amongst others, but in some areas where
we lack a bit of depth. We are looking at developing some young players for
the future in those positions,” said Davies.

Namibia face defending Rugby World Cup champions New Zealand on September 24th,
followed by pool C matches against Georgia, Tonga and Argentina, all teams ranked
in the top 15 and above Namibia in 20th spot on World Rugby’s latest rankings.

“I feel the players that have put their hand up have been rewarded with
selection. There’s a lot of courage and character and we will be doing
everything to get that first ever elusive win at a Rugby World Cup. I am pleased
with the dynamics of the players who are based in Namibia and those who play
professionally. We couldn’t ask for a group that is more together, a more
committed group” said Davies.

Namibia Rugby’s General Manager: Rugby, John Williams, said he was hugely
excited by the inclusion of Conradie, Stevens and van der Westhuizen, three
players who did duty for Namibia at the Junior World Trophy in the last two
years.

“What is important is that they were selected on merit and that is very
good in terms of our future and for our legacy program, it is very exciting
to see these young players as it shows our structures are working and that bodes
well for our future.”

The Namibian team returned to Windhoek on Thursday after a hugely successful
training camp in Durban that included three joint training sessions with the
Springboks.

With just 27 days to go until kick-off, Rugby World Cup 2015 has already achieved
t

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