Namibia out to improve on 2019 effort against the All Blacks
Namibian coach Allister Coetzee is no stranger to All Blacks rugby, having coached the Springboks, but it is a less experienced side he will have when they meet in Toulouse in their Rugby World Cup pool game on Saturday (NZT).
Coetzee said they knew what they were getting into when they were drawn in the same pool as the All Blacks, the third consecutive tournament for them. New Zealand won 58-14 in 2015 and 71-9 in 2019. The lasting memory of their 2019 game was the stunning late try scored in the corner by All Blacks halfback TJ Perenara when he was playing first five-eighths. It was selected as World Rugby's try of the year.
Eight members of the Namibian side have been named for this week's game, including captain and centre Johan Deysel.
Coetzee said, "We knew it was a tough pool. It is not scary, but we get excited about it. New Zealand are taking this game seriously. It is good for the competition. It is a great opportunity for our players, and we are excited to play against them.
"The Italy game was a big challenge for us, especially in the set-piece. [Italy won 52-8]
"Hopefully, it will be better. We conceded too many penalties. We have to make sure that our discipline is better against top-tier teams. We were in the game up until half-time. We conceded at the end of the game.
"We have to throw more punches. We have a plan; hopefully, when the pressure is on, the players will stick to it. It will be a challenge, but it is one day to be ready for.
"Comparing our team to last week's, there are guys coming in and they can make a difference. New Zealand is a top nation. Our plan is to stop the momentum and break their rhythm. We have learnt lessons against Italy. I am happy with the intensity, energy of my players. Fortunately, we have no big injuries."
He said he was not expecting the sort of kicking game that played out between the All Blacks and France.
"The French have a huge distance kicking game so not expecting the same match. We will have a plan. But New Zealand use the width of the field. That will be a challenge for us. We will make sure not to give easy line-breaks."
Captain Johan Deysel said the game was an amazing opportunity for Namibia.
"To play against this team is great for us, not only to measure ourselves but also to learn from them. It is nice for us to see what they do.
"A lot of us have played against a tier-one nation. For all of us, to see and adapt to the intensity of the game is key. We must adapt to the speed of the game. Everything is just quicker. It will help us going into this game. We need more games against these nations to make improvements.
"We are looking forward to this game. We have focused on many things over the week.
"We have processes that we have to go through. We tick boxes at every game leading to the Uruguay game at the end [September 27]. We have certain things we concentrate on every game."