Sunday, July 6, 2014

International Rugby: Namibia Qualify for Rugby World Cup 2015

Photo Rugby World Cup
South west African country Namibia has underlined itself as Africa's second best rugby playing nation as it has secured qualification for a fifth consecutive Rugby World Cup by winning the 2014 Africa Cup in Antananarivo with a comprehensive 89-10 victory over Madagascar.  The result means that Namibia is Africa 1 and will face Argentina, Georgia, New Zealand and Tonga in Pool C of Rugby World Cup 2015. It also means that Rugby World Cup 2015 is going to be the first ever tournament in which there is not a debuting competing country, that is unless Hong Kong can overcome Uruguay and then defeat the winner of Russia v Zimbabwe.

Having lost against Kenya in the opening round match Namibia required nothing less than two big wins over both Zimbabwe and Madagascar and also required Zimbabwe to defeat Kenya. The unlikely scenario indeed came to be so today as Namibia qualified for Rugby World Cup 2015 and Kenya joined Madagascar in being eliminated. 

The day began with Kenya failing to impress. The 27-10 loss against Zimbabwe meant that Namibia would qualify as Africa 1 if it were to defeat Madagascar by 53 points and collect a bonus point. Kenya's impressive results over Namibia and Madagascar in earlier rounds had the east Africans in pole position to win the 2014 Africa Cup but in losing to Zimbabwe and collecting no competition points Kenya remained on ten points, tied with Zimbabwe who went into first place after completing the win but scoring three rather than four tries.

1
Namibia
10
2
Zimbabwe
10
3
Kenya 
10
4
Madagascar
0

Zimbabwe had thus given itself a strong opportunity of returning to a Rugby World Cup. Having played in Rugby World Cups 1987 and 1991 Zimbabwe missed out on subsequent tournaments with the Cote d'Ivoire qualifying in 1995 and Namibia qualifying for every tournament thereafter. A possible return does still does exist as Zimbabwe will enter repercharge as Africa 2. 

Zimbabwe is to face Russia on August 2 in Siberia. In what is going to be a rare home match for Russia in the region the city of Krasnoyarsk will play host to amust win elimination match with the winning team advancing to the Final Place Play-Off Final to be played in October in a home and away series against either Uruguay or Hong Kong who also face-off in August. 

A win for Zimbabwe would therefore set up the possibiity of Africa having three participants at a Rugby World Cup for the first time. South Africa is to play in Pool B against Japan, Samoa, Scotland and the USA. In defeating Madagascar today Namibia will play in Pool C thus playing against Argentina and Georgia as was the case in Rugby World Cup 2007. Namibia wll also face Tonga and New Zealand, tough matches for a country looking to win a first ever Rugby World Cup match.

Scheduling from tournament organizers has not helped Namibia's cause. The organizing committee has given Namibia a more demanding list of dates to play four pool matches than the strongest teams in the pool. Indeed New Zealand and Argentina will both have more days than Namibia as will Tonga. Namibia will face the All Blacks for the first time ever on September 24 in its opening fixture and then back-up against Tonga on September 29. The third and fourth pool matches will be on October 7 and 11 against Georgia and Argentina, a recovery time of just three days.
POOL C
19/09 - 12:00Tonga
 - 
GeorgiaKingsholm
20/09 - 16:45New Zealand
 - 
ArgentinaWembley Stadium
24/09 - 20:00New Zealand
 - 
NamibiaOlympic Stadium
25/09 - 16:45Argentina
 - 
GeorgiaKingsholm
29/09 - 16:45Tonga
 - 
NamibiaSandy Park
02/10 - 20:00New Zealand
 - 
GeorgiaMillennium Stadium
04/10 - 14:30Argentina
 - 
TongaLeicester City Stadium
07/10 - 20:00Namibia
 - 
GeorgiaSandy Park
09/10 - 20:00New Zealand
 - 
TongaSt James Park
11/10 - 12:00Argentina
 - 
NamibiaLeicester City Stadium

14 comments:

  1. Like I predicted in an earlier blog, Namibia broke Kenyan hearts. The status quo in rugby is so so tiresome... yawn...

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  2. Supporting underdogs in rugby is not worth it. The favourites win 99.9999999999999999999999999999999% of the time. The international game is a true farce full of chokers and mediocre favourites who then happily cash in... So disappointing considering what the game could be... A sorry sorry state of affairs indeed...

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  3. So Namibia qualify for the 5th consecutive time? And Kenya, the up and coming team chokes? That would be about right, this is rugby after all... Yawn, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, wake me up when something happens out of the ordinary... On second thoughts, don`t wake me up at all, there`s no need as nothing out of the ordinary will never happen in this sport in the next 50 years at least, if ever... What a joke!

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  4. Good grief!! Rugby really is a wasteland when it comes to fairytale endings for underdogs! A true tragedy for Kenyan fans and neutrals alike, given how close they came as well... How have I followed this game for so long, given the alarming frequency with which this type of heartbreak happens? Talk about drawn out agony!

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  5. I agree with all the posts above... So sick of the predictability that chokes the life and fun out of international rugby... I feel like a fool for ever getting my hopes up for Kenya or Madagascar qualifying for the World Cup. You might as well just give Namibia a free pass to the next 10 world cups... Rugby has a serious image problem, there is a truly awful sameness about the teams who dominate the game. The Football World Cup makes a real mockery of rugby`s ambitions to ever be a global sport...

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  6. Spare a thought for my country Zimbabwe...I expected us to qualify,maybe we let ourselves down by allowing Namibia to snatch that lead from us...

    Rugby is so disappointing like fellow bloggers say....No matter how close the underdog gets the result is forgone.......

    Can any1 please enlighten me on the state and health of Russian and Uruguyan rugby

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  7. How massively deflated I feel on seeing the results of today´s games. What happened to Madagascar, after their heroics upsetting Namibia in 2012? And Kenya truly blew a unique chance to make history. So close yet so agonisingly, painfully far. Just when I thought rugby had no more room left for false dawns, heartbreak, chokes and agonising anticlimaxes from underdogs, it proved me wrong yet again... What am I doing wasting my time with this sport? Regarding the game`s quest to become more global, it`s nothing but crushing disappointment after initial signs of promise...

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  8. Unbelievable how Kenya threw away an amazing chance (athough sadly it`s actually quite believable)... That opportunity may never come around again for them...and if it does, Namibia will beat them to it again, no doubts about that! This game is tediously predictable and has a seemingly unshakable status quo... Exasperating if you`re not a fan of monotony, fantastic if upsets and anything remotely out of the ordinary scare the living daylights out of you...

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  9. I came to the internet full of hope (although cautious not to celebrate prematurely) and ready to read the good news of Kenya qualifying for their first ever World Cup... then my heart sank and I groaned as the title "Namibia qualify for the World Cup" screamed out of my monitour... Boredom and rugby go together hand in hand... Always has been, is and always will be the case... Don`t know whether to laugh or cry right now...

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    1. Not the best result by all means!

      I'm sure that most of the repliers come from rugby nations, so we all know what rugby is truly about.

      The 'lets' system which this sport is has only seen France being admitted as one of the big boy, since 1978.

      Listening to rugby players and soccer 'stars' is rather chork and cheese. Can ayone remember the Beckham / Wilkinson ads for adidas and hearing both of them speak. We knew who played the peoples sport who was the rugby guy!

      But all is not lost. I genially believe that we will see upsets at next year's RWC, as has always been the case when it is played in Europe.

      As for a new team at the RWC 2019, will Asia get a second team or will the suits stick to the system?

      Mark, the man in Japan.

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  10. IRB should consider to expand the rwc with 24 teams

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  11. Come on guys, you compare rugby with football and that game has an almost sixty year head start on rugby. It's very disappointing no doubt. I was cheering the Kenyans all the way but it was not to be, but the progress they have made in the last couple of years alone, and the resources they have compared to Namibia lead me to believe it won't be long before Namibia is unable to to make it to the RWC. Namibia aint going anywhere. They are only marking time. Kenyan rugby is the one on the rise. They just lacked that bit of experience for big time games when it came to it. Not surprising when this is the first time they've been in pole position to qualify. Come 2019 with more experience they are going to be better prepared mentally to do what is required. The Namibians have been there and done that, and that showed this week when they battled back against Zimbabwe and seized their chance against Madagascar. So don't lose hope. There's a very good chance the tables will be turned for 2019!

    And BTW, despite football having its headstart and lots of competitive games, not one real upset in the either the second round or quarter final games. shows even in football it's hard to upset the odds when it gets to the hard end of the World Cup. Who do we have in the semis...same four teams we've had at the very least a few times.

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  12. I didn't quite know where to put this comment, but when the ultimate force in world footie gets munched 7-1 it puts rugby's lopsided results into perspective!

    Mark, the man in Japan.

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    1. A very belated reply to your comment, Mark!

      Firstly, off topic to talk football (soccer), a game which is even more of an obsession where I’m based in Colombia than rugby is in NZ! Well, since your comment, Brazil were soundly beaten 3-0 by Holland in the World Cup 3rd-4th playoff, and then broke Colombian hearts again in their next game (a meaningless friendly in Miami, unless you're Colombian, lol), where Neymar scored the winner a few minutes from time... I don't think Colombia will ever forgive Brazil for what happened in the World Cup quarter final (the Brazilians practically beat up James Rodriguez, and the Spanish ref seemed absent throughout the game... But of course, don't mention to the Colombians that they put Neymar in hospital themselves too! Lol...)

      Coming back to rugby, I think you're spot on... If we liken a 1 point "goal" in football/soccer to a 7 point "try" in rugby, 7-1 would be like the Springboks beating the All Blacks 49-7... Can't see that happening ever! Not ever away, let alone at home… And a loss like that at Eden Park would be even laughed at as a plot for a fairy tale! Too unbelievable! Yet Brazil WERE humiliated at home in the round ball game…

      While we're on the subject though, here are some times the All Blacks were soundly beaten (there were other times too which I haven’t included)... I’ve put the rough equivalent scores it would be if it was football (obviously, I haven't taken into account the tries scored, only divided the total scores of each team by 7 and rounded it up/down)...

      RSA 40-26 NZL at Ellis Park 2004… 6-4 away loss in football?

      FRA 43-31 NZL at Twickenham in 1999 (RWC)… 6-4 neutral venue loss in football?

      ENG 38-21 NZL at Twickenham in 2012…5-3 away loss in football?

      AUS 28-7 at Sydney in 1999… A 4-1 away loss in football?

      Certainly none of the above come close to a 7-1 home loss!!! For a team to get 7 "goals" against the ABs, by my reckoning they’d have to score 49 against them…Which is basically a half century. The closest a team’s ever got is when SA beat NZ 46-40 at Ellis Park… Although even that can’t be considered a thrashing, because NZ had a chance to win that right to the end!

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