Deysel’s Namibia ‘leave everything on field’ to reach Rugby World Cup, Kenya join Portugal in November repechage
- Victory sends Namibia through to global tournament for seventh time in a row
- Hong Kong can qualify for the first time if they beat Tonga in two weeks, lose and they will play in repechage competition
Namibia captain Johan Deysel said his side “left everything on the field” as they reached the 2023 Rugby World Cup thanks to Sunday’s 36-0 win over Kenya in Aix-en-Provence.
Flanker Wian Conradie, who plays for the New England Free Jacks in the United States, scored a hat-trick as The Welwitschias claimed a place in the global tournament for a seventh straight occasion.
“We had a big build-up to this game,” Deysel told Canal+ after victories over Burkina Faso and Zimbabwe in the quarter-finals and last four of the Africa Cup which doubled up as World Cup qualifiers.
“We knew Kenya are always tough. We had to leave everything on the field today and we did it,” the centre added.
Namibia will face hosts France, who will move top of the world rankings on Monday, three-time winners New Zealand, Italy and Uruguay in Pool A of the World Cup with their opening match against the Azzurri on September 9.
“We’re not scared at all,” Namibia hooker Torsten van Jaarsveld told Canal+. “It’s always an honour to play a World Cup, not every player plays at a World Cup.
“It’s a very high standard. It’s going to be hard but we’re going to work,” the 35-year-old Bayonne forward added.
The Simbas, ranked 33rd in the world, move into November’s final qualifying tournament for another chance to reach next year’s competition despite the defeat.
Portugal are guaranteed a place in this year’s four-team tournament while the loser of the United States and Chile’s play-off as well as the one between Hong Kong and Tonga will also feature.
Hong Kong booked their spot in this month’s World Cup qualifier after winning the Asia Rugby Championship in thrilling fashion on Saturday, with Gregor McNeish’s last-gasp penalty giving them a 23-21 win over Korea in Incheon.
The United States hold the slenderest of leads, after winning a first leg played in driving rain at Estadio Santa Laura 22-21 on Saturday
Namibia, led by former South Africa head coach Allister Coetzee, had a 15-0 advantage at the interval thanks to 27-year-old Conradie’s contributions and a penalty and conversion from fly-half Cliven Loubser.
The side ranked 24th in the world maintained their dominance after the break as Loubser, who also features for a Major League Rugby outfit in the Utah Warriors, kicked three penalty goals.
Conradie claimed the first half-trick of his senior career with two minutes left before Deysel, who featured at the 2015 and 2019 editions of the World Cup, rubbed salt into Kenya’s wounds 30 seconds into overtime for his seventh Test try.