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Uruguay lead the teams’ head-to-head battle 4-1, including a 26-18 World Cup warm-up match in Montevideo last month. Namibia’s only win against today’s opponents came in June 2019, when they prevailed 30-28 before the World Cup in Japan.
Cliven Loubser, who kicked 15 points in that victory, is due to start at full-back today, but appears to have picked up a knock in the warm-up – that would be another big injury blow for Namibia.
Before this southern-hemisphere skirmish, here’s Rob Kitson on Wales and Ireland’s progress in a tournament that has belonged to the north so far.
Uruguay: Amaya, Basso, Pérez, Vilaseca (c), Freitas, Etcheverry, Arata; Sanguinetti, Kessler, Arbelo, Aliaga, Leindekar, Ardao, Civetta, Deus.
Replacements: Pujadas, Gattas, Piussi, Rodríguez, Dosantos, Ormaechea, Berchesi, Alonso.
Namibia: Loubser, Mouton, Izaacs, Burger, Greyling, Swanepoel, Stevens; Benade, Van Jaarsveld, Coetzee, Ludick, De Klerk, Gaoseb, Uanivi (c), Hardwick.
Replacements: Van der Westhuizen, Sethie, Shifuka, Van Lill, Katjijeko, Booysen, Theron, Van der Bergh.
The path towards the final will become clearer for many teams in the next few days, but this third tranche of World Cup fixtures kicks off with a battle between two winless sides playing for little more than national pride.
Not all underdogs are equal, though: while Uruguay have pushed both France and Italy close (and still have a mathematical chance of the quarter-finals), Namibia are already out after three increasingly punishing defeats to Pool A’s Tier 1 trio.
Allister Coetzee’s line-up is also weakened by injury and suspension, with Johan Deysel serving a five-match ban and Johan Retief sidelined by a spider bite. Still, today represents their best chance to finally claim a first-ever World Cup finals win.
Uruguay are just four places higher in the world rankings but are warm favourites today after their impressive efforts in defeat so far. Victory would be their fourth in finals history, and should cement their status as an emerging Tier 2 rugby nation.
Plenty to play for in Lyon, then. Kick-off is at 4.45pm BST, 5.45pm local time.