The Namibian Rugby Union has welcomed the inclusion of a Namibian team in next year’s Vodacom Cup competition. NRU president Bradley Basson, confirmed on Tuesday that the South African Rugby Union has agreed to Namibia’s request to be included in the 16 team competition that will run from early March through to the end of May. “It is the best thing that could have happened to Namibian rugby in our build-up towards the Rugby World Cup, we have a number of local based players who are not exposed to high level rugby and they will benefit from this,” said Basson from Carcavelos, Portugal where the national team is preparing for a test match against Portugal on Saturday.
The final fixtures need to be ratified by the SARU Executive council next month but Basson said that there were strong indications that Namibia would be allowed to play all 8 their matches in Windhoek. “The other good thing is that SARU has convinced teams to play all the games against us in Windhoek, so our players who are all amateurs can continue to do their jobs, train in the mornings and evenings and be ready for the match over the weekend, it will also save the NRU a lot of expenses and at this stage, we really do have to look at our finances as we will need a lot of resources to prepare for the World Cup. It will help with the players’ conditioning, they will be exposed to high intensity rugby and with eight of these matches, they will be much better prepared for the tests we plan in June in the CAR Competitions as well as World Rugby’s Nations Cup and off course for the World Cup in September,” said Basson. According to the NRU president it will also present his union with the opportunity to generate interest in the Namibian team before they head off for England.
“That is one of the most important aspects , that we will be able to get the people of Namibia behind the team and to get spectators back to rugby,” he said. Basson added that the inclusion of Namibia in the Vodacom Cup competition was a result of a very strong relationship with SARU, “They remain our big brother and we are immensely grateful to SARU and the teams who have agreed to travel to Windhoek. We promise them Namibian hospitality at its best” The details of which group Namibia will be playing in, and against which teams as well as the final dates will be confirmed by SARU in December.