Kees boosts Namibian pack

Kees boosts Namibian pack

THE Namibian national rugby team’s front row has been boosted by the return of captain Kees Lensing, who will be leading his charges against Morocco in a crucial 2007 World Cup first-leg qualifier at the Hage Geingob Rugby Stadium tomorrow.

Lensing missed out in the last qualifying match against Tunisia about a fortnight ago and his presence is expected to make a difference in the front row against the Morocco pack, which is one of the heaviest in Africa. The Namibian pack weighs a total of 862 kilograms and the team’s strength has been upfront.Coach Johan Venter told The Namibian Sport yesterday that he was happy with the return of Lensing, and was hoping that the team will dominate in the front row.”I initially decided to go with a heavy pack because I don’t want the opposition to take charge in that department.We need to stamp our authority upfront and at the same time create room for our backs,” he said.The Namibian team has been training as a full squad since earlier this week and according to Venter their chances of beating the visitors are good, considering the home advantage.”We need to score at least three tries, but most importantly we have to win to let them play catch-up rugby when we go to them next month.Home advantage is a major factor and with a big crowd in attendance, I am sure we will pull this one off,” he said.Another key player who joined the side is the experienced lock Heino Senekal, who has returned from the United Kingdom, while Wanderers scrumhalf Pieter Rossouw is also expected to start.Winger Jerome Nel will also be in the starting line-up but flanker Schalk van der Merwe and prop Deon van den Bergh are expected to be on the bench.The most notable absentee is the fast-running centre Hendrik Meyer, who could not be released by his South African provincial side Cheetahs due to contractual obligations.Venter said he was unhappy about the situation because the International Rugby Board requires clubs to release players to represent their countries in World Cup qualifiers.”I don’t want to go into the politics of that issue, but the local rugby authorities are dealing with the issue,” he said.Nico Esterhuysen could not make the trip to Namibia, as he is currently writing exams in South Africa.Venter said the team looks solid and he is satisfied with the fitness levels of most of the players.”We will have another training session on Friday (today) and will leave for a nearby lodge to complete our preparations before we go into battle,” he said.Venter has previously taken Namibia to the Rugby World Cup in 1999.Namibia has only played twice in the Rugby World Cup, with their second appearance in 2003 in Australia when New Zealander Dave Waterston was in charge.Venter said he was upbeat about Namibia’s chances of making it to the world showpiece, because he believes in his players and has good backing from the management.He said the public should turn up at the match in numbers to rally behind the national team, which has proved to be dominant in most of their home matches.The Namibian pack weighs a total of 862 kilograms and the team’s strength has been upfront.Coach Johan Venter told The Namibian Sport yesterday that he was happy with the return of Lensing, and was hoping that the team will dominate in the front row.”I initially decided to go with a heavy pack because I don’t want the opposition to take charge in that department.We need to stamp our authority upfront and at the same time create room for our backs,” he said.The Namibian team has been training as a full squad since earlier this week and according to Venter their chances of beating the visitors are good, considering the home advantage.”We need to score at least three tries, but most importantly we have to win to let them play catch-up rugby when we go to them next month.Home advantage is a major factor and with a big crowd in attendance, I am sure we will pull this one off,” he said.Another key player who joined the side is the experienced lock Heino Senekal, who has returned from the United Kingdom, while Wanderers scrumhalf Pieter Rossouw is also expected to start.Winger Jerome Nel will also be in the starting line-up but flanker Schalk van der Merwe and prop Deon van den Bergh are expected to be on the bench.The most notable absentee is the fast-running centre Hendrik Meyer, who could not be released by his South African provincial side Cheetahs due to contractual obligations.Venter said he was unhappy about the situation because the International Rugby Board requires clubs to release players to represent their countries in World Cup qualifiers.”I don’t want to go into the politics of that issue, but the local rugby authorities are dealing with the issue,” he said.Nico Esterhuysen could not make the trip to Namibia, as he is currently writing exams in South Africa.Venter said the team looks solid and he is satisfied with the fitness levels of most of the players.”We will have another training session on Friday (today) and will leave for a nearby lodge to complete our preparations before we go into battle,” he said.Venter has previously taken Namibia to the Rugby World Cup in 1999.Namibia has only played twice in the Rugby World Cup, with their second appearance in 2003 in Australia when New Zealander Dave Waterston was in charge.Venter said he was upbeat about Namibia’s chances of making it to the world showpiece, because he believes in his players and has good backing from the management.He said the public should turn up at the match in numbers to rally behind the national team, which has proved to be dominant in most of their home matches.

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