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Van Vuuren set to make history

September 13, 2003 17:01 IST

Rudie van Vuuren will become the first man to play in the cricket and rugby union World Cups when he pulls on his Namibia jersey next month in Australia. The 30-year-old flyhalf represented Namibia's cricket team as a seam bowler in the sport's showpiece tournament in South Africa this year but he is not obsessed by his slice of history.

"I don't think about the achievement everyday. There are other important things to worry about," said Van Vuuren, who normally works as a gynaecologist, with both cricket and rugby union still largely amateur sports in his southwest African country.

Van Vuuren has played 27 times for Namibia's rugby team, sharpening his skills while studying medicine at Stellenbosch, one of South Africa's top universities.

Namibia are in the tournament's Group A along with hosts and defending champions Australia, Ireland, Argentina and Romania.

"Realistically, I don't think we can beat any of the teams," Van Vuuren told Reuters. "But we will play with passion and a sense of pride for Namibia."

Namibia lost all the three matches at the last Rugby World Cup four years ago, with Van Vuuren a regular on the replacements' bench.

Van Vuuren believes he is a more natural rugby player than cricketer, despite becoming the first Namibian to take five wickets in a one-day international when he achieved the feat against England in a World Cup match this year.

Van Vuuren, who underwent a knee operation after the tournament in South Africa, plans to retire from international rugby after the World Cup in order to concentrate on his cricket.

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