4 Oct 2019

All Blacks and Namibia only thinking about themselves

12:18 pm on 4 October 2019

There's one thing the All Blacks and Namibia have in common as they prepare for Sunday's Rugby World Cup match - they are both focusing on their own performance and won't be talking much about the other side.

New Zealand's head coach Steve Hansen.


The last time these two met at the Cup was in 2015 when the All Blacks won 58-14 but the Namibians scored a very good try through Johan Deysel sending the crowd into raptures.

The All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says they've done some basic analysis of Namibia but he says they're focusing far more on their own performance in a match they are supposed to easily win.

"Games like this, the key thing is about ourselves," he said. "It's what we can do, how we can turn up, what attitude we have and then when we get on the park, what we can execute. So we won't talk about Namibia much."

"They're not a team you see a lot on TV, we've obviously seen them through the tournament so we've got enough info on them now to be able to come up with some strategies," he added.

"We're continually trying to improve what we're already doing and there's one or two other little things that we'll introduce."

In many ways, his words echo that of the Namibian team, their complete opposites in world rugby. Namibia know that they have almost no chance against the three-time World Cup winners but they are here to cherish the moment and enjoy being on the field with the All Blacks.

Halfback Damian Stevens says he will be realising a lifelong ambition of representing his country on the world stage and on Sunday, his heart will swell.

"I am very proud to be here, proud to be representing my country, represent my family and my friends. I am just excited to head out onto that field and live my dream.

Players of South Africa and Namibia battle for the ball in a line-out.


Former Namibia captain Jacques Burger who played in the last World Cup match up has challenged his former team not to be over-awed by the occasion and to push for a try, like Namibia did through Deysel.

"These (the All Blacks) are 15 of the greatest players in the world, but they are just human beings like we are - they bleed like we bleed," he told reporters.

"From the first kick-off, the first tackle, the first ruck, go out and do everything 100 per cent. You do have the ability. They're not super-human. You can learn off them and maybe you can teach them a couple of things as well."

Namibian loose forward Prince Gaoseb says because of that, playing the All Blacks is an opportunity rather than a burden.

"It's a big achievement for us to be here. People back home will be watching and hopefully we won't disappoint them."

A loss won't disappoint them, but Stevens would have been disappointed if they didn't get the chance to take on the very best.

"You just get excited as a player. You can test yourself as a player against the best and compete against them."