From unwanted records to the great players who could have played for Namibia - find out some trivia about the World Cup's lowest ranked nation
There’s no such thing as an easy game when you’re a Namibian international, but opening your Rugby World Cup campaign against reigning champions New Zealand is particularly tough.
As the tournament’s lowest ranked team, Namibia are not expecting to spring an upset, but hope to put in a good show against the side at the top of the World Rugby rankings table.
But as the mix of professionals and amateurs prepare for their moment in the spotlight on Thursday night, take a look at some facts you may not have known about the African nation’s rugby history.
Namibia made Rugby World Cup history when they conceded 142 points against Australia in 2003, and with the African side failing to get on the scoresheet the result is the biggest losing margin ever in the tournament.
They conceded 22 tries in that defeat, which is also still a World Cup record. Australia were only three points shy of matching New Zealand’s all-time scoring record in the finals, which they set in 1995 by beating Japan 145-17.
Namibia’s record loss to Australia was the first of three occasions in which they’ve been held scoreless at a World Cup. In 2007 they lost 30-0 to Georgia, while four years later they conceded 87 points without reply against South Africa.
In total, teams have been failed to record a single point ten times in finals history, with Namibia making up 30% of these.
Jacks (and Jacques) of all trades
The team for the 2015 World Cup is made up of professionals and amateurs, with dentists, engineers, farmers and diamond traders.
Saracens back-row Jacques Burger is by far the most well-known player in the squad, but when training together everyone has to wait for the amateurs to finish work until they can hit the field.
Another unwanted record
When George North scored two tries against Namibia in the 2011 he became the youngest try scorer in World Cup history.
Wales put 81 points on the African team, who replied with a try from Heinz Koll. North was one of nine Wales players who crossed the whitewash, with Shane Williams touching down three times.
The ones that got away
Before Namibia gained independence, players born in the then named South West Africa were eligible to play for South Africa. Two notable players who plied their trade for the Springboks are full-back Percy Montgomery and flanker Jan Ellis.
Montgomery scored 893 points in 102 appearances for South Africa, while Ellis was one of the standout flankers in the 1960s and 70s.