The Namibian Welwitschias take on the South Western Districts Eagles in the Vodacom Cup competition in George, South Africa on Friday evening.
The Welwitschias have been struggling so far in the competition, and are still searching for a win after losing their opening four matches. They lost 47-12 to the Eastern Province Kings, 56-9 to Western Province, 25-5 to the Sharks XV and 29-13 against the Free State last weekend.
The Welwitschias gave an improved performance against the Free State, but especially the backline struggled in the wet and muddy conditions.
They conceded two soft tries at the start of each half, which saw them trailing 22-3, but at least they staged a strong comeback in the second half. Captain PJ van Lill exemplified their never say die spirit with a great try while the forwards held their own in the scrums and the lineouts.
The backline however failed to spark and was guilty of stray passes, knock-ons and poor options.
The Welwitschias are currently at the bottom of the North Section and still have to open their account after four matches. The SWD Eagles are also struggling with one victory and three defeats and are currently second last in the South Section.
Welwitchias coach Johan Diergaardt has only made one change to his team, bringing in Henk Franken at lock to replace the injured Heinz Koll. He has stuck with the rest of his team that lost to the Free State but especially the backline will have to improve its performance if Namibia hope to win in George.
With flyhalf Jacky Bock out injured, regular fullback Chrysander Botha has been used at flyhalf, but he has not had the same impact as he does with his incursions from the back.
The centre pairing has also been a weak link, especially in defence, where the opposition has often broken through, while there is a lack of pace on the wings.
With injuries not helping his cause, Diergaardt has experimented with the players at his disposal, trying some in different positions, but none of his gambles have been successful.
Under the circumstances its probably the best not to tamper with the backline, but they will have to put in a much better performance if they hope to record their first victory.
The match will be televised live on SuperSport 1 at 19h10.
The Welwitschias team is as follows:
15 Justin Nel, 14 Heini Bock, 13 Llewellyn Winckler, 12 Darryl de la Harpe, 11 Chrysander Botha, 9 Jurie van Tonder, 8 PJ van Lill (captain), 7 Morne Blom, 6 Tinus du Plessis, 5 Nico Esterhuyse, 4 Henk Franken, 3 Raymond Dobson, 2 Bertus O Callaghan, 1 Johnny Redelinghuys.
16 Shaun Esterhuizen, 17 Hauta Veii, 18 Vaughan Pietersen, 19 Munee Tjiueza, 20 Eugene Jantjies, 21 Anthony Jevu, 22 Attie du Plessis.