Namibia's finest one match away

(RUGBYWORLDCUP.COM) Wednesday 1 July 2009
 
Namibia's finest one match away
Namibia in action against Georgia at Rugby World Cup 2007

Namibia coach John Williams believes that his current side is one of the finest to have represented the country in recent times.

The Namibians followed a 13-13 draw with the Ivory Coast in Abidjan with a dominant 54-14 win in the return leg in Windhoek, which he believes has filled the side with even more confidence ahead of the Africa Cup final against Tunisia in November, the winner of which will qualify for the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.

"It was a tough game in Abidjan but we managed to pull it through here at home and I'm very happy, especially for the players because they can now really start to believe in themselves," said Williams.

"It shows you what difference a home crowd makes, and a home advantage.

"When you're away from home and the food is different and you're not sleeping well, it does make it difficult but here we were in front of our own people and as soon as the game gathered momentum we managed to pull it through.

"There's a lot of talent within this team. We have an 18-year-old playing and when he plays he looks like a 35-year-old, I think it is one of the most exciting teams that Namibia has had in quite a while."

The winner of Tunisia-Namibia will join holders South Africa alongside Wales, Fiji and Oceania's qualifier - likely to be Samoa - in Pool D at RWC 2011.

For the two beaten semi finalists, Ivory Coast and Uganda, the road to the World Cup is now barred for another four years.

Namibian set piece the difference

"I think we were beaten by a very good team, better than us and it was obviously tough to concede 50 points," said the Ivory Coast's coach Michel Giacomini.

"Namibia were too strong for us in the set pieces, the scrum and line-out, where they simply had too much power."

After tying the first leg in Abidjan, the margin of victory in Windhoek did surprise Giacomini, although he admitted that his side had contributed to its own downfall.

"At half time we were within 10 points at 19-9 and still very much in the game, but after the break we completely lost our discipline," he added.

"To be shown two red cards and three yellows isn't normal for an international competition of this level and was totally unacceptable on our part.

"We're still a work in progress. The boys are here, they're ready to work hard and we will for the next four years to retain Nope of getting back to the World Cup in the future."

Williams and Namibia now face a four month wait before taking on the North African finalists.

"I haven't watched any footage of Tunisia yet but I believe they are going to be very tough," the coach said. "We'll have a look at how they play, and take it from there."