Saracen Burger to lead Namibia at World Cup

Johannesburg (AFP) - Loose forward Jacques Burger from English Premiership club Saracens will skipper outsiders Namibia at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England.

He is among 13 players with previous World Cup experience included in a 31-man squad announced Thursday in Windhoek.

Burger, prop Johnnie Redelinghuys, loose forward Tinus du Plessis and scrum-half Eugene Jantjies were in the 2007 and 2011 tournaments squads.

Redelinghuys from Windhoek club Wanderers is the most capped Namibian rugby player with 46 international appearances.

Nine other players chosen by Wales-born head coach Phil Davies were part of the 2011 squad in New Zealand.

They include forwards Raoul Larsen, Rohan Kitshoff and PJ van Lill and backs Theuns Kotze, Darryl de La Harpe, Danie van Wyk, Conrad Marais, David Philander and Chrysander Botha.

The squad announcement came after the Namibians returned from a training camp in South African city Durban, which included three joint sessions with two-time world champions the Springboks.

Eleven of the squad are based in South Africa, 10 in Namibia, six in France, two in England and one each in New Zealand and Romania.

Namibia will be rated among the weakest 2015 World Cup participants having lost all 13 matches in four previous appearances, including a 142-0 drubbing by 2003 hosts Australia.

"I feel the players that have put their hands up have been rewarded with selection," said Davies, who took over just two months ago when Danie Vermeulen quit.

"There is a lot of courage and character (in the squad) and we will be doing everything to get that first elusive win at a Rugby World Cup.

"I am pleased with the dynamics of the players who are based in Namibia and those who play professionally.

"We could not ask for a group that is more together, a more committed group," said the coach.

First up for the African qualifiers in Pool C is a clash with title-holders New Zealand on September 24 followed by matches against Georgia, Tonga and Argentina.

Squad

Forwards (17)

Johannes Coetzee, AJ de Klerk, Jaco Engels, Raoul Larson, Johnnie Redelinghuys, Casper Viviers, Louis van der Westhuizen, Torsten van Jaarsveld, Janco Venter, Tjiuee Uanivi, Renaldo Bothma, Jacques Burger (capt), Wian Conradie, Leneve Damens, Tinus du Plessis, Rohan Kitshoff, PJ van Lill

Backs (14):

Eneill Buitendag, Eugene Jantjies, Damien Stevens, Theuns Kotze, Darryl de La Harpe, Johan Deysel, JC Greyling, Danie van Wyk, Conrad Marais, David Philander, Heinrich Smith, Russell van Wyk, Chrysander Botha, Johan Tromp

Coach: Phil Davies (WAL)