Ryan De La Harpe has called for organisers of future Rugby World Cups to introduce a fairer structure after his Namibian side suffered heavy defeats in their final two matches.
The Pool D minnows performed creditably in their opening fixtures against Fiji and Samoa and even though they lost both they were competitive and scored two tries in each game.
However, Johan Diergaardt’s men tired and went on to concede 87 points to South Africa and 81 against Wales, results that gave their campaign an undeservedly lop-sided appearance.
They are also results that are fairly easily explained given the fact Namibia’s semi-professionals were made to play four times in just 16 days, while the full-time Springboks had eight days between their last two matches.
Other ‘minor’ nations such as Samoa and Georgia were treated equally unsympathetically by the schedule when, if anything, the countries with stronger squads are better prepared to manage the rigours of a quick turnaround.
And Moseley scrum-half De La Harpe believes the system needs looking at. “It’s not just about the physicality, it’s about the mental strength that you have,” he said.
“We just had a turnaround of, I think, four days. Then we had to go again and the bigger teams had six, seven days.
“It’s like people expect them to go through to the next round so it’s like they need that rest.
“We need more rest. The first two games were alright but after the second game we could feel it because we are training and travelling and you are not used to it.
“I think the top teams are always so experienced and they are used that environment. They have got a big squad with big names and they can put in anyone on any day and they will get the same result.
“With us, the coaches just felt the combinations they had were working for them. The World Cup would be a lot longer if everyone was resting but to be fairer I think they could have rotated, all rest six days at some stage.”
De La Harpe is not the only player to question the current structure, although he has been far more measured than Samoa’s Eliota Fuimaono Sapolu who used Twitter to express his complaints.
And De La Harpe also claimed he enjoyed the experience which came after a superb season for Moseley last term.
“It was a blessing being there. It’s an amazing, amazing event and I really enjoyed it,” he said.
“Playing-wise I am not even concerned because just being there was a brilliant feeling.
“I have got a lot of positives I have brought back with me.”