All Blacks beat brave Namibia

They might have lost by 44 points in the end but Namibia were delighted to avoid a real pasting by holders New Zealand in their opening Rugby World Cup game at the Olympic stadium on Thursday.
The southern African nation went down 58-14 in the Pool C clash but emerged with much pride and satisfaction from their first ever meeting with the All Blacks.
“We wanted to keep them to under 50 points and towards the end we let it slip a bit, but there are a lot of positives to take away and we are very happy with many areas of our play,” captain Jacques Burger told reporters.
“When we were down to 14 men (after the sin-binning of prop Jaco Engels in the second half) we fought really hard,” added Burger, one of a handful of professionals in a team of part-timers.
“More than half of the team are eight to fivers and to play against the All Blacks, to face the haka is a special moment,” Burger said.
“But I’m glad it’s out of the way now, there was a lot of uncertainty at what to expect, but we’ve learnt now that we can battle against the best. The players know now they don’t need a miracle to perform against the top teams.”
Coach Phil Davies, who only took over a few months before the tournament, said their preparations had paid off.
“I never expected that in my coaching career I’d be up at 5am conducting scrummaging sessions,” said the Welshman, a former World Cup player himself.
“The boys have put in a huge amount of effort. This was a performance with a lot we can be proud of.”
Namibia have a five-day turn around before their next pool game against Tonga in Exeter on Tuesday as they seek to register a first World Cup win after 16 failed attempts.

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