Saracens loose-forward Jacques Burger will captain Namibia in the first test of the Windhoek Draught Friendship series against Russia in Windhoek this Saturday. Burger returns to the team after his last appearance for Namibia against Canada in November last year.
It will be his first test appearance on home soil since 2009. The starting 15 for the opening encounter in the two match series shows 4 changes and 4 positional switches to the one that played in Namibia’s 20-3 defeat against Spain at the Nations Cup in Romania last month.
In the back-line Leopards centre, Johan Deysel has recovered from an injury and replaces JC Greyling at inside centre while Eugene Jantjies is back in the starting line-up ahead of Eneill Buitendag who moves to the bench. In the tight five St.Nazaire prop Casper Viviers will start at tight head replacing Aranos Coetzee who is not available for the first test and veteran Jaco Engels gets a start on the loose-head side. Lock Nico Esterhuizen replaces Janco Venter to partner Tjiuee Uanive in the second row. The loose-forward trio sees the return of Burger with Thinus du Plessis moving from the side of the scrum to number 8.
It is the replacement line-up that really makes for interesting reading with Namibia’s big guns who will all start from the bench. Namibia Rugby Union’s Director of Rugby, John Williams said they wanted to maintain as much momentum as possible from the last encounter against Spain and did not want to make too many changes straight away.
“ We wanted to keep the starting line-up as close to the one which played against Spain but will gradually introduce the likes of Renaldo Bothma, Torsten van Jaarsveldt and Chrysander Botha so that when we go into the second test we have more momentum,” said Williams.