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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 September, 2003, 14:20 GMT 15:20 UK
Namibia in World Cup chaos
Johannes Theron
Theron is one of the players who withdrew
Namibia have been hit by a series of problems in the run-up to the Rugby World Cup next month.

Lack of funds, the cancellation of the team's original training camp in South Africa and the withdrawal of four players have left the team's preparations in chaos.

The remaining members of the team have kept up their training at the national stadium in Windhoek, but admit to being affected by the setbacks.

"We, as players, don't know what's going on," Namibia fly-half Rudi van Vuuren told this website.

"We just carry on training but it's always at the back of my mind."

The biggest blow to the side is the absences of full-back Lean van Dyk, prop Jane du Toit, hooker Hugo Horn and lock Johannes Theron, who said they preferred not to risk contracts with South African provincial teams rather than play for Namibia.

The teams reportedly threatened not to pay them and now Namibia Rugby Union president Dirk Conradie said the four will be banned under International Rugby Board rules which state a player who has been selected for his country and refuses to play, may not play for his province until 10 days after the World Cup.

We haven't seen the coach since we played against Kenya a few weeks ago
Namibia fly-half Rudi van Vuuren
The four players also cited reservations about the NRU administration and questioned the union's willingness to pay them, saying that some of the players in the 1999 World Cup squad had still not been paid.

Theron told a South African daily newspaper, Die Burger, the NRU never informed him of his selection to the national squad, but instead his parents had.

Earlier this month, Namibia's New Zealand-born coach Dave Waterston admitted preparations for the World Cup had been far from smooth.

"Our preparation is chaotic to be blunt," said Waterston.

"We've got problems. We haven't got money, we had to cancel our original training camp which was going to be in South Africa for six weeks.

"We have cancelled two training games and in between that we have had our problems with our assistant coach who I fired because I questioned his loyalty."

Waterston himself has come under criticism for his tactics and long absences, which led to a revolt in the training camp.

But the NRU has backed the controversial Kiwi and reports indictate problems at the training camp have now subsided.

Links to more Namibia stories


Namibia lose four players
22 Sep 03  |  Namibia

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