the thousand and one lives of Namibian Pieter-Jan van Lill

the thousand and one lives of Namibian Pieter-Jan van Lill

2023-09-19 17:05:26

Pieter-Jan van Lill greets the public after Namibia’s big defeat against New Zealand (3-71) on Thursday in Toulouse. CATHERINE IVILL/Getty Images via AFP

PORTRAIT – The oldest player in the competition, the 39-year-old third row is playing his fourth World Cup and will challenge the French XV on Thursday.

On and off the field, Pieter-Jan van Lill never goes unnoticed. His physique (1.93 m, 119 kg) attracts attention and his beard, almost “chabalesque”, is impeccably groomed. “I can’t shave it, my kids wouldn’t like it! They wouldn’t recognize me otherwise», laughs the native of Keetmanshoop, a small town of 17,000 inhabitants five hours’ drive from the Namibian capital Windhoek. At 39, this dental surgery graduate is playing in his fourth Rugby World Cup and has become the oldest player in the competition. “I feel like I keep playing. I don’t feel old (laughs)… I still train with the same intensity. Being the oldest player in the World Cup, I find it funny”he confides to Figaro.

The third line of Capbreton-Hossegor (Landes), installed in the 8th French division, reveals the secret of its longevity. And it looks simple. “ If you listen to yourself too much, say to yourself “oh I’m old, I can’t do this”, you’re already finished. Personally…

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