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Boks respect winless Namibia

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 00:00

South Africa may have hit triple-figures the only time they played but humble Namibia will have a point to prove to the defending champions at the World Cup, Springbok forwards coach Gary Gold said on Wednesday.

No one is giving the 19th-ranked Namibians a hope in stemming the surging Bok tide at North Harbour on Thursday, but Gold said pride was at stake for the Welwitschias and it shapes as their 'final.'

The comparison between the two African neighbours is stark. The Springboks are two-time World Cup champions, while Namibia have yet to win a single World Cup match and were hammered 49-25 by Fiji and 49-12 by Samoa at this tournament.

But Gold cautioned against tagging Namibia 'minnows' even though the Springboks lashed them with 15 tries in their only meeting in Cape Town four years ago which ended in a 105-13 frolic.

"A lot of these guys know our guys, they know us probably more intimately than a lot of people we get to play again in world rugby," Gold told reporters.

"Many of them play in South Africa, play club rugby in South Africa, some of them play provincial rugby and obviously (skipper) Jacques Burger plays in the (English) Premiership and he's well known in South Africa.

"These guys have a point to prove. Many of the Namibian guys are friends of our guys and pride is at stake here.

"Rugby's in their blood as much as it's in our blood and for them they'll want to come out and prove a point."

Gold said the Springboks, bidding to equal their record of 10 consecutive World Cup wins on Thursday, respect the Namibians and will have their focus and not who South Africa will be facing in the quarterfinals.

"You see it when teams get labelled with the so-called 'minnows' and for Namibia this could potentially be their final to want to pitch up and prove themselves against the Springboks," he said.

"From our point of view we realise that and we respect that in them and we know their coaches as well, we know their coaching structures are very good at the moment.

"So our focus at the moment has got to be on Namibia and give them the respect they deserve for this game."