Namibia have made seven changes to their starting line-up for their final Rugby World Cup Pool A match against Uruguay in Lyon tonight, one of which has been forced through the absence of captain Johan Deysel.
Coach Allister Coetzee has long targeted this fixture as the one to break his team’s unwanted record run of 25 consecutive losses in the World Cup since they made their debut in 1999.
“It is up to us and how we are going to finish this one,” Coetzee told reporters on Monday. “The players know what a win means for the country, it can change a lot. So we will pitch up.
He will miss experienced centre Deysel, who was red-carded in the 96-0 loss to France last week for a dangerous tackle on Antoine Dupont.
“It’s an unfortunate situation, I’m sure he would have loved to be captaining the last game, but I’ve got no doubt in my mind that Tjiuee (Uanivi) will do a great job,” Coetzee told reporters on Monday.
“He’s been captain before, he’s part of the leadership group and he’s an experienced player.
The other changes are injury-enforced. It’s tough to play four matches in 18 days for any tier-two country.”
Prop Johan Coetzee and wing Gerswin Mouton are therefore the only players to have started all four matches in France.
Alcino Izaacs takes over at outside centre from Deysel, and will form a midfield pairing with Danco Burger.
Cliven Loubser moves from flyhalf to fullback in the place of Andre van den Berg as Tiaan Swanepoel returns to the number 10 jersey, while Damian Stevens comes in at scrumhalf.
Former Australia international Richard Hardwick is back at number eight as Prince Gaoseb moves to the flank, and Uanivi comes into the back row.
Namibia lost 26-18 to Uruguay in Montevideo last month and Coetzee believes that elusive World Cup win is there for the taking.
“They’re a quality side. They’ve got a good set-piece, a very disruptive maul defence,” he said. “I know we’re in for a tough one.
“They’ve got the best possible team available and it’s only their third match. We will have to be at our best. The big thing about this is, it’s anyone’s game.”
Namibia team: 1-Jason Benade, 2-Torsten Van Jaarsveld, 3-Johan Coetzee, 4-Adriaan Ludick, 5-Tiaan De Klerk, 6-Prince Gaoseb, 7-Tjiuee Uanivi (c), 8-Richard Hardwick, 9-Damian Stevens, 10-Tiaan Swanepoel, 11-JC Greyling, 12-Danco Burger, 13-Alcino Izaacs, 14-Gerswin Mouton, 15-Cliven Loubser
Replacements: 16-Louis van der Westhuizen, 17-Desiderius Sethie, 18-Haitembu Shifuka, 19-PJ Van Lill, 20-Max Katjijeko, 21-Adriaan Booysen, 22-Jacques Theron, 23-Andre van der Bergh. – Reuters.