Namibia, the lowest ranked 2011 World Cup participants, are targeting Group D rivals Fiji in the hope of achieving their first-ever victory at the tournament.
The south-west African nation will also face Wales, Samoa and neighbours and defending champions South Africa in a tough group for the minnows.
Refusing to write off the title hopes of the Springboks despite poor recent results, Namibia coach Johan Diergaardt says the Fiji fixture offers his team the best chance of success in New Zealand.
"Whether South Africa are having a bad day or not, they remain very dangerous. It will not be easy against them. All our games will be against teams among the top 10 or who have been among the top 10 in the IRB rankings so we will be underdogs," he admitted to AFP.
"The only team we are confident of beating is Fiji. Namibia against Fiji will be a balanced affair and it will depend on how we walk on to the field that day. I am confident we will get our first World Cup victory against Fiji," said Diergaardt.
The Welwitchias have retained 13 of the 2007 World Cup squad and while attention will be on Saracens flank and national team skipper Jacques Burger, Diergaardt tips 25-year-old Western Province flank Rohan Kitshoff to emerge as the Namibian star at the tournament.
"All our loose forwards stand a chance of being the talk of this World Cup, but Kitshoff has been in great form in South Africa at club level and is likely to steal the show at the World Cup," said the coach.
Half the Namibian squad play in a local amateur league but Diergaardt is optimistic that his charges can achieve a first World Cup victory.
"This is the only World Cup which we have had more than two years to prepare for. We never had more than three months to prepare for previous tournaments.
"The reason why we have had a shortage of funds ahead of this World Cup is because we used money to prepare by competing in the Vodacom Cup in South Africa as well as the last two IRB Nations Cups.
"We are well prepared this time round," insists Diergaardt.
Namibia are the second strongest African Rugby Union nation after South Africa, having qualified for the last three World Cups in 1999, 2003 and 2007.
Other African teams that have competed at the World Cup are Zimbabwe (1987 and 1991) and Ivory Coast (1995).
The Welwitchias got direct qualification as African Cup champions - a system other nations want reviewed given Namibia's poor World Cup results, including a record 142-0 defeat by hosts Australia at the 2003 World Cup.
But Diergaardt says opponents should "write us off at their peril".
Chairman of the national selectors committee for the past two World Cups, Diergaardt has been in charge of the Welwitschias since 2008 and surprised Namibians when he led the national team to the IRB Nations Cup title in Romania a year ago. Diergaardt has won back-to-back league titles with local side Western Suburbs.
Jacques Burger - loose forward
The Namibia captain is determined to crown an outstanding season in the English Premiership with a successful World Cup. Burger was the players' player of the year at London-based Saracens and is relishing a second appearance at the World Cup. "Our squad has many local players and the level of rugby in Namibia is not as high as other countries at the tournament, but we have experience from the last World Cup and the young blood in our squad makes us dream bigger," said the 27-year-old flank.
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