Rugby World Cup Pool A: Namibia v Uruguay, OL Stadium, Lyons, Wednesday, 4.45 Irish time – Live Virgin Media Two
The numbers don’t lie. Namibia have played 25 matches across seven World Cups and have yet to register a victory and their prospects don’t look too bright on Wednesday evening in Lyons against their South American opponents who have been impressive despite defeats to France and Italy.
Former Springbok coach Allister Coetzee, now in charge of Namibia, has made eight changes from the team that lost 96-0 to France last time out, many enforced by injury, while his captain Jean Deysel is suspended following his clash of heads with Antoine Dupont that left the French captain requiring surgery to a cheekbone.
Coetzee said: “You all know that our captain was red carded against France. 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. He’s been captain before, he’s part of the leadership group and he’s an experienced player. The other changes are injury enforced changes.”
Uruguay head coach Esteban Meneses has made four changes to his starting team from the one that lost 38-17 to Italy. Diego Arbelo, Carlos Deus, Bautista Basso and Felipe Arcos Perez come into the team, the latter for his World Cup debut.
There are 13 survivors in the matchday team from the last time they played Namibia in August, a fourth victory in five previous meetings between the countries, including nine players who started that game.
Namibia will be the first team to complete all their matches in the World Cup but while they dearly love to grab that coveted first victory, Uruguay would be strong favourites to win this game if both teams could choose from a full playing deck, never mind the African side being decimated by injuries.
NAMIBIA: C Loubser; G Mouton, A Izaacs, D Burger, JC Greyling; T Swanepoel, D Stevens; J Benade, T van Jaarsveld, J Aronos Coetzee; A Ludick, T de Klerk; P Gaoseb, T Uanivi (capt), R Hardwick.
Replacements: L van der Westhuizen, D Sethie, H Shikufa, PJ Van Lill, M Katjijeko, A Booysen, J Theron, A van der Bergh.
URUGUAY: B Amaya; B Basso, F Arcos Perez, A Vilaseca (capt), N Freitas; F Etcheverry, S Arata; M Sanguinetti, G Kessler, D Arbelo; F Aliaga, M Leindekar; M Ardao, S Civetta, C Deus.
Replacements: G Pujadas, F Gattas, R Piussi, JM Rodríguez, 20 E Dosantos, 21 A Ormaechea, F Berchesi, J M Alonso.
Referee: M Raynal (France).