Preview: Canada v Namibia
WORLD CUP POOL MATCH: This is the wooden spoon battle in Pool B.
They are the bottom two sides in the pool, neither with a point from their three matches.
Both teams will go home after this, their last pool match, the loser lugging the mythical wooden spoon.
For Namibia it may be a golden chance to win a match in their sixth World Cup.
Canada has a healthier past, having reached the quarterfinals in 1991. At their previous seven World Cups, Canada have won a total of seven matches.
2019 World Cup results
Italy: Canada lost 7-48; Namibia lost 22-47
New Zealand: Canada lost 0-63; Namibia lost 9-71
South Africa: Canada lost 7-66; Namibia lost 3-57
There is not much to learn from that, as the two suffered heavy defeats all along.
Canada, tundra and all, is a much bigger country than Namibia, desert and all.
It is roughly 12 times the size of the African republic, with a population of about 37,5 million to Namibia’s 2,5 million, which is just smaller than the population of Toronto.
Canada has some 29,000 registered players, to Namibia’s 9,000.
But all of this will count for nothing when the drums have gone bang, the anthems are sung and Paul Williams’s whistle signals the start of the match.
The Namibians are used to battling the odds and winning, for they are men of great versatility and toughness.
They face adversity with pride and confidence.
Players to Watch
Canada’s starting wings – strong Jeff Hassler and energetic, skilful DTH van der Merwe who has a zest for scoring tries and holds the Canadian record for Test tries. Like Namibia’s Eugene Jantjies, Van der Merwe is playing at his fourth World Cup and needs a try on Sunday to have scored a try in each of the World Cups.
It is a bit of a surprise that Jantjies was chosen ahead of lively Damian Stevens who played so well against New Zealand and who is a reliable goal-kicker. But then those who saw 21-year-old Chad Plato’s brilliant try against Italy may also be surprised that he is on the bench.
The Namibian centres, Johan Deysel and Darryl de la Harpe will be worth watching as will fullback Johan Tromp who has had a fine World Cup. All three are strong defenders who seek opportunities to attack.
Bustling Torsten van Jaarsveld may well be the most obvious Namibian forward while Tyler Ardron of Super Rugby experience will be the hardest battler on the Canadian side.
Head to Head
Tyler Ardron versus Janco Venter in the forwards and Peter Nelson versus Cliven Loubser at flyhalf could be two interesting contests.
Prediction: It should be an even contest of honest endeavour between the two sides. Perhaps Namibia may fulfil an ambition by winning by six points. After all, Canada lost to Brazil this year.
Canada: 15 Patrick Parfrey, 14 Jeff Hassler, 13 Conor Trainor, 12 Ciaran Hearn, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Peter Nelson, 9 Gordon McRorie, 8 Tyler Ardron (captain), 7 Matthew Heaton, 6 Lucas Rumball, 5 Conor Keys, 4 Evan Olmstead, 3 Jake Ilnicki, 2 Eric Howard, 1 Djustice Sears-Duru.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Quattrin, 17 Hubert Buydens, 18 Matthew Tierney, 19 Luke Campbell, 20 Dustin Dobravsky, 21 Jamie Mackenzie, 22 Shane O’Leary, 23 Andrew Coe.
Namibia: 15 Johan Tromp, 14 Lesley Klim, 13 Johan Deysel (captain), 12 Darryl De La Harpe, 11 Jacobus Greyling, 10 Cliven Loubser, 9 Eugene Jantjies, 8 Janco Venter, 7 Wian Conradie, 6 Prince Gaoseb, 5 Tjiuee Uanivi, 4 Johan Retief, 3 Johannes Coetzee, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 André Rademeyer
Replacements: 16 Louis van der Westhuizen, 17 AJ De Klerk, 18 Desiderius Sethie, 19 Max Katjijeko, 20 Rohan Kitshoff, 21 Damian Stevens, 22 Helarius Kisting, 23 Chad Plato
Date: Sunday, 13 October 2019
Venue: Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium, Kamaishi City
Kick-off: 12.15 (23.15 Canada-Eastern time Saturday, October, 12; 03.15 GMT; 05.15 Namibia time)
Expected weather: Heavy rain clearing later, 90 percent humidity, a light wind with a high of 18°C, dropping to 13°C. It seems that the match will take place as the typhoon moves on in search of other victims.
Referee: Paul Williams (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Pascal Gaüzère (France), Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)
*The Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium, where the match is die to be played deserves a serious mention. In 2011, an earthquake and a tsunami struck the region, killing over a thousand people and causing destruction. In 2014 a decision was made to build this stadium so that it could take part in the 20129 World Cup and add its weight to the spirit of recovery from disaster. It seats just over 16 000 spectators. This match will be the second Rugby World Cup match played at the stadium.