Rugby

Burger to captain Namibia

2014-10-15 07:49
Jacques Burger (File)

Johannesburg  Saracens loose forward Jacques Burger will captain Namibia against Canada on November 7 in the first of three matches on their tour of the United Kingdom and Europe.

Namibia coach Danie Vermeulen has named six new caps, including Free State Cheetahs captain and hooker Torsten van Jaarsveld, in his squad of 29 players.

The other five players, who will make their debut for the Welwitchias are prop Franklin Bertholini, hooker Niel Rautenbach, centre JC Greyling, Tjiuee Uanive and Russel van Wyk.

The squad, scheduled to leave for Wales on November 2, has a wealth of talent in the loose-forward department spearheaded by Burger, who captained Namibia at the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

The team would also be able to draw on the experience of Western Province’s Rohan Kitshoff, PJ van Lill doing duty for Dax in France, and former Wasps backrower Tinus du Plessis.

In total the squad features four players involved in the Currie Cup, four based in France as well as two players with experience in the English Premiership.

The balance of the squad is made up of players based in Namibia.

Burger will captain the squad in the opening match against Canada at Colwyn Bay before returning to club duties at Saracens.

Rohan Kitshoff will then lead the team in the two remaining matches against the French Barbarians and Portugal.

Vermeulen, a former Namibian international, named his squad after trials held in Windhoek and a series of training camps.

"We have talented players locally but these players need more exposure to rugby at a higher level," Vermeulen said.

"The quality of our club rugby needs to improve before we can expect these players to move from club to professional rugby and that gap is just too big."

Namibia suffered a major setback when South African based loose-forward Renaldo Bothma was ruled out after suffering a broken cheek bone in the Pumas’ penultimate Currie Cup match.

Vermeulen was excited by the inclusion of 24-year-old lock Tjiuee Uanive, who plays for Brive in France.

"I have had the privilege of coaching him since he left school and always knew that someday he would play for Namibia," the Namibian coach said.

"He is a very good lineout jumper, on his own as well as the opposition's ball."

The Welwitchias have also received a major boost to their depth in the hooker department with the inclusion of Rautenbach and Van Jaarsveld.

Vermeulen said the 27-year-old Van Jaarsveld would add massive value to the national team.

"He is a strong scrummager and his lineout work is outstanding. He can also play as loose forward and is currently captain of the Cheetahs which shows he has strong leadership qualities."

Namibia will play Germany at the United Club in Windhoek on October 29.

Namibia squad:

Forwards
Rathony Becker, Franklin Bertholini, Morne Blom, Jacques Burger, Tinus du Plessis, Jaco Engels, Nico Esterhuyse, Thomasua Forbes, Rohan Kitshoff, Niel Rautenbach, Johnnie Redelinghuys, Andre Schlechter, PJ van Lill, Tjiuee Uanive, Casper Viviers, Torsten van Jaarsveld

Backs
Chrysander Botha, Eneill Buitendag, Danie Dames, Darryl de la Harpe, Ryan de la Harpe, Johan Deysel, JC Greyling, Shaun Kaizemi, Theuns Kotze, Malcolm Moore, David Philander, Johan Tromp, Russel van Wyk

Namibia's fixtures:

October 29 v Germany, Windhoek
November 7 v Canada, Colwyn Bay
November 14 v French Barbarians, Toulon
November 21 v Portugal, Lisbon

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