Rugby World Cup: Winless Namibia not overawed by All Blacks challenge in poolplay

Namibia have made four changes to their team to face New Zealand in a daunting Rugby World Cup Pool A clash at Toulouse, where they come up against an All Blacks side desperate to bounce back from an opening defeat by hosts France.

Fullback Cliven Loubser, prop Jason Benade, flanker Prince Gaoseb and centre Le Roux Malan all come into the starting team.

Namibia were beaten 52-8 in their opener against Italy, but the score only ballooned out in the closing stages and, for much of the match, they were in the contest.

Tian Swanepoel in action against Italy.
Tian Swanepoel in action against Italy. Photo credit: Getty Images

The task will be significantly harder on Friday, but coach Allister Coetzee, who guided South Africa to four successive defeats against New Zealand in 2016-17, has resisted making wholesale changes.

"We knew it was a tough pool," said Coetzee. "It is not scary, we really get excited about it.

"New Zealand are taking this game seriously. It is good for the competition.

"It is a great opportunity for our players and we are excited to play against them."

Benade comes into the front row to replace Desiderius Sethie, while Gaoseb is in for Johan Retief, who moves to lock in place of Adriaan Ludick. Malan takes over from Danco Burger in the No.12 jersey.

Loubser wears the No.15 jersey, as Divan Rossouw moves to the wing to replace JC Greyling.

Former Australia international Richard Hardwick gets another start at No.8, after impressing against Italy, where he beat the most defenders (eight) and had the second-most carries (16) for Namibia.

"Comparing our team to last week's, there are guys coming in and they can make a difference," Coetzee said. "New Zealand is a top nation - our plan is to stop the momentum and break their rhythm."

Namibia are still seeking their first win at a World Cup, after losing all 23 games played since their debut in 1999. If they were to break their duck against the All Blacks, it would be the biggest shock in rugby history.

Namibia: 1-Jason Benade, 2-Torsten van Jaarsveld, 3-Aranos Coetzee, 4-Johan Retief, 5-Tjiuee Uanivi, 6-Wian Conradie, 7-Prince Gaoseb, 8-Richard Hardwick, 9-Damian Stevens, 10-Tiaan Swanepoel, 11-Divan Rossouw, 12-Le Roux Malan, 13-Johan Deysel (c), 14-Gerswin Mouton, 15-Cliven Loubser    

Reserves: 16-Louis van der Westhuizen, 17-Desiderius Sethie, 18-Haitembu Shikufa, 19-Pieter-Jan van Lil, 20-Adriaan Booysen, 21-Max Katjijeko, 22-Jacques Theron, 23-JC Greyling


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