Wian Conradie has tightened the laces of his rugby boots all over the world.
The 28-year-old loose forward saw Varsity Cup action in South Africa with the University of Johannesburg and the Pukke, while he also turned out in the United Kingdom for the Doncaster Knights and Gloucester Rugby.
For the past few seasons he has been in the US playing for the New England Freejacks.
So between all the adventures, his Namibian rugby passport has also been stamped at three World Cup tournaments – in England, Japan and now in France.
The Windhoek native is in action tonight when Namibia take on the mighty All Blacks in Toulouse.
“I am incredibly excited about the game. I was part of the squad in the previous two World Cups, but I didn’t have the privilege of playing against the All Blacks. Now I get my chance and I look forward to every precious moment on the field,” he told RNews from France.
After two defeats in a row, there are rugby fans who believe that the Kiwis have lost some of their rugby muscle. Still, Conradie believes Sam Cane and co are still World Cup favourites.
“Meeting the French in France in the opening match is not an easy task, but I think they played well nonetheless. If they have learned from their mistakes, they can only play better from now on; almost like what the Springboks did in Japan.”
According to Conradie, Namibia has a special World Cup group; a mixture of professional rugby players and men who have to go to work from 08:00 to 17:00.
But everyone is joining forces to achieve a common goal: To make the country and its rugby fans smile – they will not back down for the All Blacks.
“It is a great privilege to represent a country like Namibia in the World Cup and we will certainly give our best on the playing field. We are a team that keeps fighting until the last minute and never gives up.”
“The All Blacks are undoubtedly one of the best teams in the world, but Namibia is a very proud country and just like with any other challenge we will make sure to make our country proud.”
A victory against the New Zealanders may not be on the cards, but the players have been persuaded to walk off the World Cup field as victors at some point.
“We have already qualified for the World Cup a few times, but to be part of the group that brings home the first win will be incredible. We are well prepared and ready for a milestone performance.”
Conradie’s personal goals are actually simple – he wants to give his best for the team.
“Every day I want to make sure that I am better than the day before. I add value to the group and do everything that is expected of me so that we as a unit achieve our goal.”
Namibia play New Zealand tonight at 21:00 and the match will be broadcast live on SuperSport.
Namibia vs All Blacks: Cliven Loubser (full back), Gerswin Mouton (right wing), Johan Deysel (captain and outside centre), Le Roux Malan (inside centre), Divan Rossouw (left wing), Tiaan Swanepoel (fly-half), Damian Stevens (scrum-half), Richard Hardwick (eighth man) , Prince Gaoseb (flank), Wian Conradie (flank), Tjiuee Uanivi (lock), Johan Retief (lock), Aranos Coetzee (prop), Torsten van Jaarsveld (hooker) and Jason Benade (prop). Substitutes: Louis van der Westhuizen, Des Sethie, Haitembu Shifuka, PJ van Lil, Adriaan Booysen, Max Katjijeko, Jacques Theron and JC Greyling.