Rugby dreams shattered

Rudi Bowe

The dreams of the national under 20 rugby players who have represented the country in Rugby Africa under 2 0 Barthés tournament in Nairobi, Kenya were shattered after the Namibian Rugby Union (NRU) on Monday 21 June withdrew the team from the tournament.

The NRU originally withdrew the team from the tournament due to the government’s Covid-19 regulations and its ban on contact sport, which was announced on 4 June.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Namibia Rugby Union, Theo Grünewald said that the team went into a bio-secure bubble and continued to train and prepare for the tournament over the past week, but the NRU has to withdraw the national under 20 rugby team from the u20 Barthes Cup in Nairobi, Kenya after the 12 players being struck by Covid-19.
Grünewald said “The team were supposed to fly out on Sunday afternoon, but we had to cancel at the last minute after 12 members tested positive for Covid-19 when we received the results last Saturday evening.
Grünewald said that the NRU did everything possible to try to make the tour to Kenya to qualify for the World Rugby’s Under 20 Trophy tournament as the winner of the Barthes tournament serves as Rugby Africa’s under 20 qualifying tournament.
“We earlier had six positive Covid cases, so we had to bring in new players, but when we had 12 new confirmed cases on Saturday evening, it was just too much, and we had no choice but to withdraw,” Grünewald said.
According to Grünewald the NRU really tried everything to go to Kenya, and it’s a big disappointment for the players that are well prepared and confident to reclaim the trophy lost to Kenya in 2019.
“Understandably, this news will come as great disappointment to all involved in rugby, especially our players. I wish to urge all our players to continue with strength and conditioning training and to see to it that their fitness levels remain on a level that is required to represent Namibia on the international stage” Grünewald said.
The Barthes tournament serves as Rugby Africa’s u.20 championship, with the winner normally qualifying for World Rugby’s U.20 Trophy tournament.

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