Windhoek - Namibia coach Danie Vermeulen has named an exciting squad of players to take on the French Barbarians in Toulon on Friday evening, in their second match of their Northern Hemisphere Tour.
Fullback Russell van Wyk and centre JC Greyling will get their first opportunity of the tour, after missing out on Namibia’s 17-13 defeat to Canada in Wales last Friday. The starting XV shows six changes and one positional switch to the one that played against Canada.
Loose-forward Tinus du Plessis has been included in the starting line-up, subject to a fitness test he will undergo on Wednesday. Du Plessis injured a calf muscle last week in Wales and watched the match against Canada from the sidelines.
If Du Plessis is unable to play, the back row will be reshuffled with Morné Blom moving from lock to flank, Stefan Neustädt will come in from the bench to partner Tjiuee Uanive at lock, and hooker DG Wiese will be on the bench.
Vermeulen said the planned changes, if Du Plessis can’t play, is to allow No 8 PJ van Lill more opportunity to carry the ball. “We would like to keep our three options in the lineout, that’s why Stefan Neustädt will come in if Tinus can’t play. Tjiuee, Blom and Stefan will still be our options in the lineout and that will allow PJ to take the ball up,” said Vermeulen from Toulon.
Russell van Wyk gets his first start in a Namibian jersey while JC Greyling who earned his first cap against Germany, will partner Darryl de la Harpe in midfield.
“We said at the start of the tour that if we don’t give the players an opportunity, we will never know what they are capable off at this level. We know that David Philander is a quality player so Malcolm Moore gets a chance on the wing and with Chrysander Botha injured, we must test our depth at fullback with next year’s World Cup in mind, so we have given Russell van Wyk an opportunity,” said Vermeulen.
Vermeulen added that his coaching staff will focus on themselves this week to eradicate the issues that cost them a victory against Canada.
“You can’t really analyse the French Barbarians, they only get together this week, they have never played together before but we have an idea of what to expect, so the focus will be on ourselves and what we would like to do. We would like to get better at the breakdown and our defence also needs improvement.”
Namibia will not award Test caps for the match against the French Barbarians who will be coached by former French coach Bernard Laporte.
The Namibian team to face the French Barbarians in Toulon is:
15. Russel van Wyk, 14. Danie Dames, 13. JC Greyling, 12. Darryl de la Harpe, 11. Malcolm Moore, 10. Theuns Kotze, 9. Ryan de la Harpe, 8. PJ van Lill, 7. Thinus du Plessis, 6. Rohan Kitshoff (captain), 5. Tjiuee Uanive, 4. Morne Blom, 3. Andre Schlechter, 2. Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1. Jaco Engels
Substitutes: 16. Rathony Becker, 17. Johnnie Redelinghuys, 18. Casper Viviers, 19. Stefan Neustädt, 20. Thomasua Forbes, 21. Eneill Buitendag, 22. Shawn Kaizemi, 23. David Philander