Namibia novices brace for 'ultimate challenge'

Namibia novices brace for 'ultimate challenge'

London (AFP) - Namibia know they don't have a chance in Thursday's "ultimate challenge" against the All Blacks at Olympic Stadium, but have named a team they believe will do them proud against the world champions.

Coach Phil Davies said they are high on expectation they would achieve their own goals even if getting close to New Zealand is well out of reach.

Namibia, the rank outsiders who have lost all 15 games they have played in previous World Cups, open their Pool C account against the tournament favourites hoping there will be no repeat of the embarrassing 142-0 hiding by Australia in 2003.

"The only thing I'm pretty confident about is the way that we're going to approach the game," former Welsh international Davies said.

"We hope that this World Cup, we'll perform well on the pitch on a consistent basis. The scoreboard then takes care of itself."

Saracens loose-forward Jacques Burger will lead a side that includes 10 players with Rugby World Cup experience with Burger, scrum-half Eugene Jantjies and loose-forward Tinus du Plessis at the global tournament for the third time.

Jantjies, who plays for Farul Constanta in Romania, and flanker Tinus du Plessis are the most experienced members of the line up with 43 caps each.

But, apart from Du Plessis, Burger and Pieter-Jan van Lill are the only other forwards to have played more than 30 internationals.

The rest of the pack have only 36 Tests between them.

Burger said victory may be out of reach but they have targets for their first ever clash with the All Blacks.

"It's the ultimate challenge in rugby but I am pretty confident we'll give a performance," he said.

"It's all about what we can take away from the special moments during the match like keeping them for 10 minutes on our goal line, or putting together a couple of sets of play, or breaking their line and scoring a great try."

Pieter Rossouw, the attack coach and a 43-Test Springbok, said Namibia were prepared as best they could be.

"For us it?s not a game that we think we can win, but we feel it?s a game where we can do our country proud."

Team (15-1)

Johan Tromp; David Philander, JC Greyling, Johan Deysel, Conrad Marais; Theuns Kotze, Eugene Jantjies; Leneve Damens, Tinus du Plessis, Jacques Burger (capt); Pieter-Jan van Lill, Tjiuee Uanivi; Johannes Coetzee, Torsten van Jaarsveld, Jaco Engels

Replacements: Louis van der Westhuizen, Casper Viviers, Raoul Larson, Renaldo Bothma, Janco Venter, Rohan Kitshoff, Eneill Buitendag, Chrysander Botha.

Coach: Phil Davies (WAL)