Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber: “We’re not there yet”

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber: “We’re not there yet”

Durban — After his team’s victory over the Pumas, Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber remarked, “We’re not where we want to be yet.” Almost all Springbok fans would agree that this comment is a gross understatement.

It was the manner in which the Boks attempted their Mission Impossible of defeating the All Blacks that was problematic, not their effort, which could not be blamed. What we witnessed was a full reliance on the driving maul to score scores, and while I appreciate that the Boks are very excellent at it and you want to employ your finest tools, there must also be some variation.

The first and only time the Boks rushed the ball, Kurt-Lee Arendse scored and they appeared quite adept.

Obviously, there were mitigating circumstances, as the Boks lacked a genuine flyhalf for this encounter. Let’s be honest: despite the hype surrounding Frans Steyn prior to the game, he hadn’t played the position in 14 years, and it showed.

He was unimpressive, ungainly, and devoid of authority, and the backs did not attack. Steyn, who is 35 years old, may still give some beautiful cameos off the bench, and that should be his primary function.

 

With Handre Pollard and Damian Willemse injured and Elton Jantjies unavailable, Nienaber was in a difficult position with the flyhalf position. If I were Nienaber, I would have convinced Morne Steyn to come out of international retirement for one game.

The Boks will face the No. 1 rated side in the world, Ireland, in November in Dublin, and figuring out the flyhalf pecking order will be a priority for the four-match tour that also included blockbuster matches against England and France.

Nienaber stated following the 38-21 victory, “We’re not where we want to be yet.” “We need consistency, and our end-of-year tour will give us a fair picture of where we stand. It will be a hard tour as we face the No. 1 (Ireland) and No. 2 (France) teams in the world, along with a SA “A” side. But it will provide us with helpful information about our location.”

Encouragingly, the 17-point triumph in Durban followed consecutive 16-point victories as the Boks bounced back from a disappointing loss to the Wallabies in Adelaide with three consecutive victories — against Australia and Argentina (twice)

“I am simply happy that we were able to repay the supporters. They are, in my opinion, the Rugby Championship’s unsung heroes — we had three sell-out audiences, lost in Johannesburg, but gave it our all in the other two.”

Nienaber stated that he had utilized 34 players in the event and that certain position depth problems had been answered.

“We increased squad depth. We fell short of our primary objective, which was to win the Rugby Championship. Several players did get some experience, but it was not our primary objective. Nonetheless, there were some bright spots,” he remarked.

“We are in a better position to learn about certain roles now than we were when we began. There was always a major question over the flyhalf position and whether Damian (Willemse) could play there, so kudos to Frans (Steyn) for filling in so quickly today; he will continue to improve in that regard.

“We’ve also had Kurt-Lee Arendse and Canan Moodie come through, and now Cheslin Kolbe must perform if he wants to return – but we know he’s a terrific player, and we look forward to having him back on the November tour.”

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