(Reuters) – Factbox on the Namibia squad for the Rugby World Cup in Japan, where they will compete in Pool B:
World ranking: 23
Namibia will appear in a sixth successive Rugby World Cup with no realistic chance of making the knockout stages but still with the opportunity to make some history.
The Southern African side have lost each of their previous 19 World Cup matches, but showed an improvement under Welsh coach Phil Davies in England four years ago when they ran Georgia close in a 17-16 loss.
They will look at their final Pool B fixture against Canada in Kamaishi on Oct. 13 as a big opportunity to break their duck, but before then will simply be seeking to avoid heavy defeats to New Zealand and South Africa, and perhaps spring a surprise against Italy.
Namibia actually have a positive head-to-head record against the Italians, though those successes came 28 years ago in Windhoek and the fortunes of the two nations have changed since then.
Many of the Namibia players were either born, raised or schooled in South Africa, and they rely heavily on their neighbour to assist in the development of the game in the country.
Davies has selected 15 players with previous World Cup experience in his squad, including scrumhalf Eugene Jantjies, who will be appearing at his fourth tournament.
Phil Davies (Wales)
Davies played 46 times for Wales at lock and has been steering Namibia since he first took over as technical director for their November internationals in 2014.
The 55-year-old has led Namibia to four successive Africa Gold Cup title wins, and their showing at the 2015 World Cup was their best yet with a first bonus point in the narrow 17-16 loss to Georgia.
Centre and captain Deysel has played in South Africa’s domestic Currie Cup and Super Rugby for the Sharks, but currently plies his trade in the French second-tier with Colomiers.
He was part of the side that met New Zealand in the 2015 World Cup, scoring his team’s only try as they lost 58-14, and will take that experience into the tournament in Japan, where Namibia will clash with the All Blacks again.
A strong ball carrier in midfield and good on defence, Deysel’s most important contribution will be his leadership and organisation skills.
Captain: Johan Deysel
Forwards – Andre Rademeyer, Nelius Theron, Desiderius Sethie, AJ de Klerk, Johannes Coetzee, Obert Nortje, Louis van der Westhuizen, Torsten van Jaarsveld, Tjiuee Uanivi, Johan Retief, Thomasau Forbes, Rohan Kitshoff, Max Katjijeko, Prince Gaoseb, Wian Conradie, PJ van Lill, Adriaan Booysen, Janco Venter.
Backs – Cliven Loubser, Helarius Kisting, Damian Stevens, Eugene Jantjies, Darryl de la Harpe, Johan Deysel, Justin Newman, JC Greyling, Johann Tromp, Chad Plato, Lesley Klim, Janry du Toit, PJ Walters.
W – 0, L – 19, D – 0
Last World Cup: Pool stage (2015)
Best finish: Pool stage (1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015)
(Compiled by Shrivathsa Sridhar and Nick Said; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)