THE selectors of the Namibian National Rugby Squad have been forced to make a change to their bench for their 2019 Rugby World Cup opening match against Italy at the Hanazono Rugby Stadium Lesley Klim failed a late fitness test because of a calf injury.
Klim, who would likely have started were it not for the injury cloud hanging over him, will be replaced by PJ Walters, the only uncapped player in Namibia’s World Cup squad.
“Lesley has failed a late fitness test for this week’s game. We hope he’ll be fit for the upcoming matches. We hope he’ll be fit for the match against South Africa but there’s no guarantee at this stage,” Namibia attack coach Mark Jones confirmed on Saturday.
The squad is optimistic about the maiden match against their first world cup opponents because Italy lost ten of their last 11 testmatches. The Namibians are confident that they would be able to record their first ever World Cup win.
“We need to make sure we’re at our very best. I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t come up with a few ideas which I think may help us perform well against Italy but we’re under no illusions. They are a very good team with a lot of quality players playing at the top level. Confidence and momentum are really important in professional sport and this game gives us the opportunity to achieve both of those things,” Jones said.
He said the team is looking to build more confidence going into the two very difficult fixtures against South Africa and New Zealand along with Canada in the last match of the group stage.
In the meantime head coach Phil Davies announced that Tjiuee Uanivi will captain Namibia in their first Pool B match at the Hanazono Rugby Stadium.
The Namibian Team for the opening match in the 2019 Rugby World Cup are: Andre Rademeyer, Torsten George Van Jaarsveld, Johannes Coetzee, PJ Van Lill, Tjiuee Uanivi (capt.), Rohan Kitshoff, Wian Conradie, Janco Venter, Damian Stevens, Cliven Loubser, JC Greyling, Darryl De La Harpe, Justin Newman, Chad Plato and Johan Tromp.
Ridng the becnch when the match kicks off will be Louis van der Westhuizen, AJ De Klerk, Nelius Theron, Johan Retief, Max Katjijeko, Eugene Jantjies, Helarius Axasman Kisting and the injured Lesley Klim.