Burger keeps Namibia moving forward

(Rugby News Service) Thursday 15 September 2011
Burger keeps Namibia moving forward
Burger showed his trademark determination against Samoa

ROTORUA, 15 Sept. - Despite its familiarity, defeat does not get any easier to bear for Namibia.

Wednesday's 49-12 beating by Samoa sunk the Welwitschias' Rugby World Cup record to played 13 won nil, with their closest contest a 15-point loss to Ireland in the 2007 tournament.

Namibia also hold the dishonorable distinction of the worst cup thumping ever, a 142-0 whitewash by Australia in 2003.

Captain Jacques Burger, who has 27 caps for his country, says sometimes the losing can take its toll.

"It's hard to keep the boys up," the tireless flanker said. "Especially during games, you have to work hard with yourself as well as with the team to keep positive because we make a lot of silly mistakes."

Burger is not used to being on the wrong end of the scoreboard. The 188cm, 102kg workhorse helped lead Saracens to the 2011 English Premiership and was named player of the year by his teammates.

It's a different story with Namibia.

Frustrated and upset

"Losing is always frustrating. It's really frustrating when you can't get your game sorted out.

"It shouldn't get you down, but it does upset you at times."

But Burger, who debuted for Namibia in 2004 against Zambia and was selected for Rugby World Cup 2007, says he sees the team making progress.

"(Against Samoa) I felt really proud of the boys," he said. "I could see them working really hard. Guys stayed tough and kept on working. I can see us improving."

With two matches to go against Pool D favourites Wales and South Africa, it will be tough for the Welwitschias to leave New Zealand with their first RWC win. Positive steps forward will have to suffice.

"It's the World Cup, and you're representing your country, and you've got to take it and make the best of it," Burger said.

"We knew it was going to be tough coming in, and you want it to go better, but at the same time you have to be realistic.

"You come to the World Cup with a team like my country and, well, I'm really proud. It doesn't matter what the score is at the end of the day."

RNS am/sw