Loose-forward Rohan Kitshoff will captain Namibia against Zimbabwe in Saturday’s Windhoek Draught Africa Cup Final in Windhoek. Kitshoff will lead the side in the absence of Jacques Burger who has returned to the UK to complete administrative matters with his English club side Saracens.
Burger will rejoin the Namibian squad in Durban later this month for a training camp with the Springboks. The inclusion of Kitshoff is one of ten changes to the starting line-up from the side that defeated Kenya 46-13 in Windhoek last week. Five players who started the match again Kenya, hooker Torsten van Jaarsveld, locks Tjiuee Uanive and Janco Venter as well as flyhalf Theuns Kotzè and fullback Chrysander Botha will run on against the Zimbabweans. Prop Johannes Coetzee and loose-forward Renaldo Bothma who came off the bench last Saturday have been promoted to the starting line up.
Namibian Head Coach Phil Davies said the rationale behind the changes was to try and keep consistency. “We always look at the spine of the team, it was also about making sure we pick a team that could win the game. It is also in line with our 23 man or in this case 22 man strategy, selecting a team that could give us a full high intensity 80 minutes performance. “
Griquas wing Danie Dames who also made his Super Rugby debut for the Free State Cheetahs this year will make his first appearance for Namibia since last year’s European Tour. Injury and personal issues have so far prevented the wing from taking part in any of Namibia’s seven international matches so this year. The replacement bench also sees the return of hooker Rathony Becker, loose-froward Thomasua Forbes and scrumhalf Eneill Buitendag.
“We have also looked at giving players opportunities, opportunities for Rathony, Thomasua and Danie who has been with the squad for two weeks now. Competition for the World Cup is fantastic and that is what we wanted to do, we wanted to create depth across the squad and the final selection will come down to durability, versatility and current form,” said Davies.
Namibia and Zimbabwe currently lead the standings of the Africa Cup 1A competition with Namibia at the top on a better points difference followed by Kenya in third and Tunisia in fourth position. Saturday’s match at the Hage Geingob Stadium is effectively a final to determine the 2015 African Champions.