Rugby World Cup 2023: SA and Namibia in focus – Prospects, challenges, and carrying the hope of the continent

Rugby World Cup 2023: SA and Namibia in focus – Prospects, challenges, and carrying the hope of the continent

As the 2src23 men’s Rugby World Cup unfolds, the spotlight shines on two African teams: powerhouse South Africa, ranked 2nd globally, and the underdog Namibia, ranked 21st. Expert rugby coach Wilbur Kraak dissects their prospects. South Africa boasts a strong lineup and experienced coaching staff but faces a demanding pool. Namibia aims for its first-ever World Cup win but navigates a challenging group. Kraak also delves into the state of rugby in Africa, highlighting potential and hurdles. With technology, squad depth, leadership, and scoring dynamics in play, the tournament promises thrilling matches. Discover the five elements crucial for world champions.

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Rugby World Cup 2src23: Africa’s hopes lie with South Africa and Namibia, for now

From The Conversation: Interview with Wilbur Kraak*

Two African teams have made it through to the 2src countries playing across four pools in the final stages of the 2src23 men’s Rugby World Cup: three-time champions South Africa (ranked 2nd in the world) and underdogs Namibia (ranked 21st). What are their chances and what is the state of rugby union in Africa? We asked rugby expert and coach Wilbur Kraak some burning questions.

What shape is South Africa in – can they win?

South Africa can do well for a few reasons. Key members of the coaching and support team, who helped South Africa win in the last World Cup, in 2src19, are still there. And they’ve added new talent like Deon Davids for fresh ideas. They have lots of good players in different positions, so can make strong teams no matter who they choose. There are both experienced players and young talents, like Canan Moodie, Grant Williams and Kurt-Lee Arendse. Some of the players can play different positions, which is handy. It’s a team that does well when it has momentum, especially in areas like collisions and kicking. And leaders like team captain Siya Kolisi are important, particularly in tough games. 

But we need to remember a few things. South Africa’s players are older now, so they need good rest between matches. They’re in a demanding pool – including Ireland (ranked 1st in the world) and Scotland (5th). They should rotate the team in games against lower ranked sides like Romania and Tonga. All-rounder Manie Libbok’s skill in kicking goals is crucial. And the team must stay disciplined on the field and adjust to how referees interpret the laws. If these things are kept in mind then South Africa has a good chance of winning.

How do you rate Namibia?

Namibia’s goal is different from South Africa’s. I believe their main aim is to secure

…. to be continued
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