After the pool stages finished I posted a blog about the venues I’d visited and I asked a load of people to RT it for me on Twitter. One of the people who did was one of Namibia’s stars of the World Cup – Tinus du Plessis (@). At the time there was a lot going around about Tier 1 v Tier 2 nations and I decided I wanted to try and do an interview with a player so I cheekily responded to Tinus to ask him… and he agreed!
So, here goes:
Firstly, thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for me.
Namibia’s performances at this World Cup were great and you won a lot of fans. How has this WC been different to the others? Do you think the additional funding from World Rugby has helped?
Yes, I think the additional funding from World Rugby has done wonders in our build up to the World Cup. We had specialist consultants and coaches come in and join us for this campaign and they are all specialist is their respective fields.
Training with the boys was immense, we got the opportunity to train live scenarios against a Tier 1 nation which prepared us for what we could expect heading into the World Cup. The players and coaches of the Springboks were great in sharing their experience and expertise.
Getting our first point was massive, it gave the team a lot of confidence going forward in the years to come especially with the younger generation of Namibian players coming through. So hopefully in World Cups to come we will get that elusive first win!
Canadian captain Jamie Cudmore has been very outspoken about the treatment of Tier 2 nations at the WC, with some teams being flown home almost straight after their last match. What are your thoughts on this?
Difficult for me to comment on that. Obviously he had a problem with the way Tier 2 nations were treated so unfortunately I can’t really specify my feelings towards that.
The refereeing and use of TMO has been under the microscope in this WC, particularly the treatment of Tier 2 players vs Tier 1. What are your thoughts on the officials and disciplinary proceedings at this tournament?
You know refs are going to make mistakes, they are human after all. It’s just up the teams to bounce back from that.
There is a great flock of new up-coming players coming through. If they are managed well I think Namibia will have a great squad to choose from come 2019 (obviously we have to qualify first!)
I don’t know about that one! Might be there, might not be there, only time will tell.
No, that was not pre-planned at all, it was just a heat of the moment kind of thing. After we scored the final try it was just a unanimous call from everyone that Johnny take the conversion. I think he saw too many Jonny Wilkinson conversions because he couldn’t even place the ball but he had the correct stance before taking the kick!
Having had stints playing in England, including for my team Wasps, you’re now back in Namibia. Given that most people who read my blog won’t know much about rugby in Namibia, what is the state of the game there? Do you draw good crowds, facilities, etc?
The state of Namibian rugby is really great now, we had some turmoil in recent years but I feel the people in charge now are great lovers of the game and they only want rugby to succeed. We do draw decent crowds for tests matches and it’s a really great atmosphere to play in front of.
Yes I would! Playing my rugby in England was a great time of my life and I really enjoyed it. I met some great people, made lots of friends, and if I do get the opportunity I would really consider it.
Who is the best player you’ve ever played with, and against?
That’s a really difficult one. I’ve played with and against some of the best players in the world and to pick just one would be wrong.
Well, that’s a difficult one as well! I like the way Argentina is coming together at this stage of the World Cup. It’s doubtful they will win though, but I will be the first one to admit it when they prove me wrong, and I do feel they have the ability to cause a massive upset! Saying that I think New Zealand just has too much quality and experience in their whole squad for someone to really challenge them for the cup.