Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber is banking on Jasper Wiese reproducing his form from the recent English Premiership as they try and fill the void left by injured icon Duane Vermeulen.
DURBAN – Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber is banking on young Jasper Wiese reproducing his form from the recent English Premiership as the South Africans continues to try and fill the void left by injured icon Duane Vermeulen.
Wiese was many critics’ choice at No.8 for the first Test against the Lions after he had delivered a promising debut against Georgia, only for Nienaber to gamble on Kwagga Smith who ended up having a forgettable second half last week.
Smith was caught out when the Lions upped the aerial game that went a long way to securing them the spoils as the Boks floundered.
The 24-year-old Wise enjoyed a sensational season for Leicester, breaking records for his number of ball carries and metres made.
“The reason why we started looking at Jasper was that he was doing well in the Premiership and you can see that in his dominant statistics,” Nienaber said.
“We want Jasper show again what got him into the Bok squad — he broke the selection door down — and I’m sure he’ll give that to us.”
Smith had a busy first half last week but, surprisingly for a former Sevens star, he struggled in the air when Lions flyhalf Dan Biggar got busy with the boot.
In acknowledging the painful absence of Vermeulen, Nienaber said: “You don’t get the man of the match in a World Cup final without being the highest quality player. Duane is a top player, but so is Kwagga and I think tactically I wasn’t that sharp in terms of protecting him with the high balls. I should have done better there as a coach.
“We’ve spoken about it and we’ll definitely see how we can change a couple of things in terms of that. I may have hung him out to dry there.