RUGBY WORLD CUP 2015
Wednesday September 30, 1.45am
Before the tournament Tonga would have targeted this game as an opportunity to be two from two and put the heat on Argentina for their match-up on Sunday. Instead, after a bitterly disappointing performance against Georgia in their opener, the Tongans will be aiming to repair some of their damaged pride against a Namibian side that proved they were no pushovers against the All Blacks last week. Rarely has a 44-point loss at a World Cup felt so much like a victory but Namibia’s team of amateurs and semi-professionals can be very proud of their efforts against the no.1 ranked side. Still in search of their first ever World Cup win, head coach Phil Davies would have recognised this fixture and next week’s clash against Georgia as their only realistic chance to try and break that duck.
That loss against Georgia was Tonga’s third in five games against minnows at World Cups. Their more recent record against the lesser teams is much more impressive though as they’ve won six of their last seven though they’ve covered the -14 handicap just once in that sample and that was over four years ago!
If you exclude all of Namibia’s results against the two pool qualifiers from the past three World Cups then the stats aren’t too damning as only two out of their six defeats was by more than 30 points. Furthermore, the two thrashings were in tough games: against Argentina back in 2003 and versus Samoa four years ago in a match that came just four days after a tighter defeat to Fiji.
Not since 2010, where they defeated Georgia and Romania in the Tbilisi Cup, have Namibia beaten another side that was involved in this tournament so to turn over Tonga is a huge ask. We think it’s more realistic that they improve on their best effort of a 15-point loss to Ireland in 2007.
- Tonga have lost three of their last five against minnows at the World Cup
- Vainikolo has scored 17 tries in his last 22 games
- Namibia have P15-L15 at World Cups