Namibia saw their gallant effort against the All Blacks as a warning to Georgia and Tonga that a breakthrough win is coming in the World Cup.
Although rank outsiders Namibia lost 58-14 and conceded nine tries on Thursday, they were proud of the way they stood up to the World Cup favourites from New Zealand in their Pool C match at Olympic stadium.
Namibia have now gone 16 games in five World Cups without a win, but captain Jacques Burger believed that could change when they play Tonga and Georgia next before finishing pool play against Argentina.
“Obviously we’re disappointed with the result but happy with a lot of things in the match,” Burger said after losing their first game in this tournament.
“We fought well and I’m proud of the boys. Going into the next match we can take a lot.
“All is not lost and our aim is still to win one game at the World Cup and we’re on track.”
Burger said he had hoped his side, a mix of amateurs and professionals, could hold the defending champions to less than 50 points but considered the scoreline as not as important as the “small victories” in the match.
Although they conceded nine tries, Namibia scored one of their own when centre Johan Deysel crossed the line after the plucky southern Africans had turned down a simple penalty shot at goal and opted for a lineout to pressure the All Blacks.
Coach Phil Davies singled out his side’s lineout for special mention saying they had competed on an equal footing with the All Blacks.
“Overall, the effort the players put in, and if you consider previous World Cup results against tier one nations, we’ve taken a step forward,” the former Welsh international said.
Saracens flanker Burger said the improvement showed his side commanded respect.
“We know we can score against the best in the world and we’ll have to keep that positive vibe,” he said adding they now had Georgia and Tonga in their sights.
“Realistically the next two games will be the ones we have to target.” – Agence France-Presse