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Last Updated: Friday, 26 September, 2003, 06:33 GMT 07:33 UK
Namibia's tricky start
Namibia are appearing in their second World Cup, but will again be making up the numbers having lost all their matches in 1999.

In their debut outing, the Africans battled hard but were outclassed in a pool that included France, Fiji and Canada.

They failed to finish within 30 points of their opponents in any of their matches.

WORLD CUP RECORD
Nambia v Fiji 1999
Played 3 - W:0 L:3
1987: Did not participate
1991: Did not participate
1995: Did not qualify
1999: Pool stage
And they left after the first stage having conceded a total of 24 tries, more than any other team bar Italy, who were arguably in a stronger pool that included New Zealand and England.

Namibia still emerged with credit by scoring tries in each game - a total of four that outstripped the Italians, Japan and Argentina, who went on to the quarter-finals.

Two of their touchdowns came in the opening game against Fiji.

However, the highlight of their campaign came in the subsequent match against France.

The French went into the half-time break with a slender 23-13 lead and had the passionate and disgusted Bordeaux crowd on their backs.

It was only after the break that Namibia began to crumble under French pressure, with the home side eventually running out 47-13 winners.

In the final match the Africans suffered badly at the hands of Canada who ran in nine tries to win 72-11.

Qualifying for this year's tournament proved to be a slightly more tricky prospect than they had hoped.

After beating Madagascar and Zimbabwe to win the African South section, the Namibians faced Tunisia in a two-legged play-off.

Namibia won the first match 26-19 and had to win, draw or lose by less than seven points in order to qualify for the World Cup proper.

The return match in Tunis was a tense affair and it was the home side that came away triumphant, 24-17.

That meant both teams had won their respective matches by seven points.

According to the rules, the team who scored the most tries over the two matches would qualify for Australia 2003.

And because Namibia held that distinction they claimed the crucial World Cup berth.





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