Blue Bulls to provide Portugal test warm-up

The NRU leadership is excited about the upcoming scheduling for the national squad.
Brian Munango
The Namibia Rugby Union (NRU) yesterday announced that the national training squad will have a warm-up friendly against South Africa’s Blue Bulls on Saturday 29 June, two weeks before the home test against Portugal on 13 July, with both games scheduled to take place at the Hage Geingob Stadium.
The battle-hardened Blue Bulls were at Vegkop Stadium in Windhoek last August, when they beat the local Welwitschias XI 43-30 in a warm-up match ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.
Coach Allister Coetzee’s Namibia will take on a Portugal side that performed impressively at the 2023 Rugby World Cup. Two results of historic significance have clearly shown Os Lobos’ drive towards bigger success – the dramatic 18-18 draw against Georgia that earned the nation’s first log point in a RWC tournament, followed by the emotion-driven 24-23 win against Fiji, Portugal’s first-ever RWC victory.
The Europeans’ showings during their losses to pool favourites Wales (8-28) and Australia (14-34) were also very respectable. Had they held on to beat Georgia, direct qualification for the 2027 tournament was even a possibility.
Speaking at the media conference yesterday, NRU president Petrie Theron said: “The Portugal match will be the first test we will have on local soil since August 2018 and we are really excited about that.
“It is important for us to play against teams ranked higher than us as much as possible, since that is the only way we can move up.
“This game will give us a good indication of where we are right now, with World Cup qualifying in the African region set to start in 2026.
“This is a year for us to experiment a bit and test the ability of younger players and see how the combination works with the more experienced players and building a solid foundation going into next year and 2026.”
With June and July already months containing action for the NRU’s representative teams, Namibia is also set to contest its champion status in the Rugby Africa Cup tournament that will be held in Uganda two weeks later (20, 24 and 28 July), where matches against Tunisia, Zimbabwe and Kenya are lined up.
Theron expressed excitement about the upcoming schedule.
“Looking at the number of tests we played in the four-year-cycle between the 2019 and 2023 World Cups, we are already off to a more productive start. We are thrilled to see our upcoming talent being blended in with the experience of the established campaigners.
“This is something for the local public to be excited for, because rugby is a family sport and we want everyone to come and enjoy the occasion with us.”