Rugby-Namibia target elusive first World Cup win

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By Nick Said CAPE TOWN, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Namibia's sole aim at the rugby World Cup is to end a run of 15 straight defeats at the global showpiece as they go into the 2015 tournament with some good form behind them. They have lost all their World Cup matches since their first appearance in 1999, conceding almost 1,000 points in the process, but there is real hope they can halt that trend in England. Not in their opener, when they take on champions New Zealand at London's Olympic stadium on Sept. 24, but later on in Exeter against Tonga (Sept. 29) and Georgia (Oct. 7). They finish their Pool C campaign against Argentina in Leicester on Oct. 11. All of those teams are placed well above Namibia's 20th position in the World Rugby rankings, but they are the fixtures where the country will be keen to show their progress under Welsh coach Phil Davies. Brought in last October as a technical advisor, Davies replaced former coach Danie Vermeulen in June. Vermeulen claimed he did not have the full support of the Namibian Rugby Union, but was also battling a run of poor form. Since then Namibia have won all four matches under Davies, completing a pair of home victories over Russia, and crushing defeats of Zimbabwe and Kenya. While that opposition may be modest, they have at least built some momentum going into the World Cup with the help of new backline coach Pieter Rossouw, a former South Africa wing. "There's a lot of courage and character, and we will be doing everything to get that first ever win at a World Cup," Davies said. "I am pleased with the dynamics of the players who are based in Namibia and those who play professionally. We couldn't ask for a group that is more together, a more committed group." They do have players with extensive experience in European and South African rugby, including captain Jacques Burger from Saracens who will be competing at his third World Cup tournament. "We promise our supporters that we will continue to give our best, stay positive and work towards our goal of recording a first ever victory at the World Cup," Burger said. South African-born Sharks loose-forward Renaldo Bothma and Exeter Chiefs fullback Chrysander Botha are both important members of the side, along with the Brive duo of prop Aranos Coetzee and lock Tjiuee Uanivi. (Editing by Rex Gowar)