Namibia to host 4-nationsBy: Helge Schutz
THE Namibia Rugby Union will host a four-nations tournament in Windhoek in November with the aim of bringing the pride back into Namibian rugby and to get sponsors and the public back on its side. The NRU’s CEO Sybrand de Beer said that Spain, Zimbabwe and a South African Barbarians team would compete in the tournament that has provisionally been set for November 10 - 17.
Namibia had originally been invited to participate in an international tournament for Tier 2 and 3 rugby nations that will take place across Europe in November, but De Beer said they had declined the invitation for a number of reasons.
“The IRB invited us to tour Europe to take part in a tournament where all the Tier 2 countries will be competing and the reason for that was to measure us against these countries. But we decided that we rather want to host a tournament in Namibia where we can basically expose rugby and the players so that we can try to get some of the sponsors and the public back on our side, and to try and get a winning culture back for the team,” he said.
“A lot of the costs we would have incurred in Europe, we can then rather put into our own rugby here and that way also recover some of the costs,” he added. De Beer said he expected the invited teams to provide tough opposition for Namibia.
“Zimbabwe was recently promoted to the Africa Group 1A and we will have to compete against them next year to qualify for the World Cup so it will definitely be good to have them here and I think they will send a quality side.”
“Spain will send a quality side because for them it’s an important tournament as well and as for the South African Barbarians team, we know that South African rugby is strong and it doesn’t matter what team they field, they will always provide good quality rugby,” he added.
De Beer said the International Rugby Board will contribute by covering Spain’s flight costs, while the South African Rugby Union will cover their own flight costs. The NRU however will have to provide accommodation and meals for all the teams as well as the flight costs for Zimbabwe.
He said the tournament should provide a fine spectacle and hoped that the Namibian rugby public would come out in numbers to support it.
“We haven’t had a nice rugby tournament in Namibia for a long time so for all the rugby lovers this will be something to look forward to and that you cannot miss. Everyone needs to support it and it will be something that we’ll try to implement every year,” he said.