For its seventh participation, Namibia once again failed to win a World Cup match. The Welwitschias touched the feat against Uruguay on Wednesday September 27, but conceded their 26th defeat in the competition (26-36, after leading 20-12 at the break). A new defeat for the last group match for the Namibians, the first nation to leave the World Cup.
“We return to our base camp in Aix-les-Bains, and we take off for Namibia on Saturday morning,” said coach Allister Coetzee on Thursday. This is the end of the adventure, and I must say that it was quite an adventure. » They are preparing to travel the 9,000 kilometers separating Paris from the Namibian capital, Windhoek, with their suitcases full with 255 points conceded for 37 registered (including a bitter 0-96 against the Blues). “When we are eliminated, we go home,” continued Coetzee. I’m sure the players will use this last day to enjoy France and the weather a bit. It’s very beautiful around here. »
As many matches in 3 months as in 4 years
Even if their record for points scored in a World Cup match (26) helped ease the frustration, the defeat against Uruguay marks the end of a long ordeal. “This week has been hell,” said Coetzee. The Namibians have in fact lost their captain Johan Deysel, suspended after his uncontrolled tackle on Antoine Dupont, plus five injured players… including Johan Retief, probably bitten by a spider. “When we put all that into perspective, the team showed immense courage on which we can rely to build,” put the coach into perspective.
If the Namibians leave France so early, it is also because the African nation is the first to have finished its group stage, with four matches… in 18 days. A unique case, since the three other nations exempted from the fifth day (Chile, South Africa and Australia) saw their four matches spread over 20 or 21 days.
Such a pace is hardly recommended for high-level rugby, and even more so for a selection unaccustomed to moving forward. “The team has played eight games in four years and we just did the same thing in three months [en tenant compte de la préparation, NDLR], illustrated Coetzee. It shows that if we play enough matches, we can be much better prepared for the next World Cup. » If it is contested between 24 teams, the Namibians can hope to finally open their victory counter.