CLUB rugby in Namibia will finally get underway on 10 April following a decision at the Namibia Rugby Union’s annual general meeting over the weekend.
Club rugby didn’t take place at all last year due to Covid-19, but the NRU said that this year’s league could consist of two separate competitions.
Äs a result of the prevailing Covid-19 protocols and preventative measures, the first round of rugby will be played as a competition on its own, and any further round will also be treated as a competition on its own. This approach was taken to mitigate the risk of the pandemic and to ensure player welfare,” the NRU president Corrie Mensah said in a press release, adding that the final schedule will be announced soon.
Besides the domestic leagues, the NRU also confirmed Namibia’s participation in various international competitions.
Namibia’s national u20 team will compete in the Barthes u20 Africa Cup which is scheduled to take place in Nairobi, Kenya from 24 June to 4 July.
Namibia will host Pool A of the Rugby Africa Cup from 1 to 11 July, when Namibia’s senior team will be in action against Madagascar and the Ivory Coast. Three other regional competitions will take place throughout Africa, with the top two teams in each pool qualifying for the 2022 Africa Cup, which is the final qualifier for the 2023 World Cup.
To help the Namibian team prepare, the NRU confirmed that a series of two friendly matches against Zimbabwe will take place home and away on 12 and 19 June.
The NRU added that Namibia’s national women’s team will also be in action at the Pool A tournament, against either the Ivory Coast, Madagascar or a neighbouring country. The winner of this match will then qualify for a new women’s 15 competition that will kick off in 2022.
With regards to sevens rugby, Namibia’s men’s team has already qualified for the final World Cup qualifying tournament that will take place in 2022. Namibia, Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Madagascar and Zambia all qualified via their world rankings, and will be joined by six more teams from pre-qualifier play-offs in August and September 2022.
Namibia’s women’s sevens team will have to qualify in a pre-qualifying competition in August and September where they will compete in a pool along with Zimbabwe, Botswana and Zambia, amongst others.
The final sevens qualifying tournaments should be concluded by June 2022 (12 men and eight women’s teams), as the Sevens World Cup in South Africa will be held in September 2022. Only three men’s teams and one women’s team will qualify to join South Africa, who automatically qualified in both competitions as the hosts.
Two vacancies on the NRU board were filled at the AGM, with Elmo Kurtz representing the Western region, and Junita Ockhuizen the Central region, although several more positions still need to be filled.
They are the Vice-president Rugby, the Southern region representative, the Namibia Senior Schools Rugby representative, the Namibia national players representative, and the Tertiary Institutions Sports Associations of Namibia representative.