NAMIBIA centre rugby player, Darryl de la Harpe, is fully aware that Sunday’s clash with Canada is an all or nothing game that will cement the country’s Rugby World Cup 2019 campaign, and quite possibly the legacy of his team.
Despite the remarkable achievement of appearing at every World Cup since 1999, the Welwitschias have never won in all 22 attempts.
Namibia will take on Pool B bottom team, Canada, on Sunday, 13 October.
The 33-year-old player is hoping to earn his 52, and likely his final cap, against the Canucks at the Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium.
“All I’m thinking about is getting the win. I don’t care how. If it’s the last kick, if it’s 50-odd points, I don’t care,” he said.
De la Harpe, like the majority of Phil Davies’s squad, has taken time away from his full-time job in Namibia, where he works for his father’s engineering company, to represent his country.
He plays for the Wanderers in Windhoek.
The Namibian centre believes the unity and character fostered in the group, a squad with a core group of home-based players, will give them the edge.
“All of us work and don’t see our families a lot during the year because of working and training at different times. Our culture is built on those types of things.. on discipline and sacrifice. It is not going to be a fancy game. It’s going to be very physical, very tough, but I believe this team has got the character for it,” he said.
Seven players in the Namibian squad, including De la Harpe, are over 30 and unlikely to be playing at the Rugby World Cup 2023 in France.
Most of Davies’s backroom staff, including Jones, are likely to move on once Namibia’s World Cup is over. However, after five years of Davies’s stewardship, Jones is confident that Namibian rugby is on an upward curve.
“These guys are constantly improving, driving higher standards and creating a better environment for young players,” he said.
For that progress to continue, De la Harpe knows the players need to take on the mantle, following the example of former teammates and now scrum coach, Jaco Engels, to inspire and lead the next generation.