Namibia pick 39-year-old Van Lill for Rugby World Cup

NAMIBIA, beaten in all 22 matches they played at six previous Rugby World Cups, named 39-year-old lock PJ van Lill among 31 players on Monday for the 2023 tournament in France.

The 20 qualifiers for the global show-piece are permitted squads of 33 and the other two places are likely to be filled by Friday, when eligibility and injury issues are finalised.

Namibia are in pool A with hosts France and three-time champions New Zealand, two of the title favourites, as well as Italy and Uruguay.

France and New Zealand, who clash in the tournament opener on 8 September in Paris, are expected to be the two qualifiers for the quarterfinals from the section.

If Namibia are to win at a World Cup for the first time since their 1999 debut, their best chances will probably come in the final pool match against Uruguay in Lyon on September 27.

The Africans lost 26-18 to Uruguay in Montevideo this month during a South American tour, which included a 34-27 defeat by an Argentina XV and a dramatic 28-26 victory over Chile.

Namibia’s South African coach Allister Coetzee has chosen 16 of the Namibia squad that competed at the 2019 World Cup in Japan, including Van Lill.

Centre Johan Deysel, another survivor from Japan, captains the team and hooker Torsten van Jaarsveld is the vice-captain.

Eight players each play in Namibia and South Africa, six in France, five in the United States, two in Israel and one each in Italy and Australia.

Coetzee had hoped to lead eventual champions South Africa at the 2019 World Cup, but was fired after two disastrous seasons in charge, including a humiliating first loss to Italy.

His Namibia assistants include South Africa-born former Scotland forward Matthew Proudfoot, who filled a similar role with the Springboks at the 2019 World Cup.



Props: Jason Benade, Desiderius Sethie (both University of Namibia), Aranos Coetzee (Cheetahs/RSA), Casper Viviers (Baulois/FRA)

Hookers: Torsten van Jaarsveld (Bayonne/FRA), Louis van der Westhuizen (Cheetahs/RSA)

Locks: Tiaan de Klerk (Mogliano/ITA), PJ van Lill (Capbreton Hossegor/FRA), Adriaan Ludick (Limoges/FRA), Mahepisa Tjeriko (University of Namibia), Tjiuee Uanivi (Montauban/FRA)

Back row: Prince Gaoseb, Muharua Katjijeko (both Tel Aviv Heat/ISR), Adriaan Booysen (Dallas Jackals/USA), Wian Conradie (New England Free Jacks/USA), Richard Hardwick (Melbourne Rebels/AUS), Johan Retief (Griquas/RSA). – SuperSport.

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