Rugby World Cup 2019: Namibia relishing opportunity to face All Blacks

Namibia's players are relishing a rare opportunity to face the All Blacks, when the two teams square off against in their Rugby World Cup Pool B clash on Sunday. 

The only previous test between Namibia and New Zealand came at the 2015 Rugby World Cup where the All Blacks won 58-14.

Eight players who featured in that game four years ago were named by coach Phil Davis to face the All Blacks on Sunday, including captain Johan Deysel.

Deysel remembers that game clearly as he scored Namibia's lone try in that test when he beat two defenders before jumping over the line. 

"It was an incredible moment. It had a big impact on my life," said Deysel "A lot of people remember that try. 

Johan Deysel celebrates his try against the All Blacks at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Johan Deysel celebrates his try against the All Blacks at the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Photo credit: Getty

"It put Namibia on the map, and that can happen to any young player on Sunday. It is a big opportunity. Anything can happen, and small opportunities like that can have a massive impact on your career and your life.

"We took a lot from that game. They put a lot of pressure on every facet of play. It isn't easy, but they are just humans."

Tomorrow's clash against the All Blacks will be Namibia's 22nd at a Rugby World Cup, having lost all previous 21 tests. 

They are also the lowest-ranked nation at the tournament, while three-quarters of their team are classed as amateur players.

Forward Janco Venter was also part of the team that faced the All Blacks in 2015 but only came off the bench in the second half. This time he will start in the No. 8 jersey. 

"To challenge yourself and play against top tier players is an exciting opportunity," he said. "It is phenomenal. 

"At the last World Cup, we learned we should believe in our own ability. We should go out and play and not stand back. We should create our own opportunities, take them and enjoy it."

Namibia have played just 24 tests since the last World Cup, compared to the All Blacks who have had 47. 

"The massive challenge for us will be to settle early in the game," said lock Tjiuee Uanivi, who also played in 2015. 

"If you're not settled and your nerves aren't calm you can't concentrate and that's when they can cause the most problems. 

"It was very exciting four years ago and it is still very exciting to play one of the best teams in the world and see how you measure up."

Namibia: 1-Andre Rademeyer, 2-Torsten van Jaarsvel, 3-AJ De Klerk, 4-PJ Van Lill, 5-Tjiuee Uanivi, 6-Prince Gaoseb, 7-Thomasau Forbes, 8-Janco Venter, 9-Damian Stevens, 10-Helarius Kisting, 11-JC Greyling, 12-Johan Deysel, 13-Justin Newman, 14-Lesley Klim, 15-Johan Tromp

Reserves: 16-Obert Nortje, 17-Nelius Theron, 18-Johannes Coetzee, 19-Johan Retief, 20-Adriaan Booysen, 21-Eugene Jantjies, 22-Darryl de la Harpe, 23-Janry du Toit

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