Home Sport Jacques Nienaber laments Springboks slow start in Auckland

Jacques Nienaber laments Springboks slow start in Auckland


Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber has lamented the slow start his side made in their Rugby Championship loss to the All Blacks on Saturday.

Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber
FILE – Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber. Photo: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

The Springboks failed to capitalise on their strengths — fielding high kicks and defending — in Saturday’s loss against the All Blacks, but it’s not too much of a concern for head coach Jacques Nienaber as he feels it can be fixed in time for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

New Zealand gave the South Africans a wake-up call of note, winning the Rugby Championship Test 35-20 in Auckland’s Mount Smart Stadium

Nienaber lamented his side’s errors in the first 20 minutes, saying they were costly and allowed the home side to capitalise on them.

“The start was not ideal for us,” Nienaber told the press conference after the match.

“For the first 20 minutes, we struggled to get into the game because of poor discipline. In that first 15 to 20 minutes, we gave away four consecutive penalties and made a lot of mistakes. Errors put us under pressure and the quality side that New Zealand is, they capitalised on it.

“Then we played catchup rugby for the rest of the game.

“It was similar to what they did against Argentina, similar to what they did against England and the End-Of-Year-Tour. We knew it was coming, we just could not handle it.”

South Africa made uncharacteristic errors like slipping off tackles, knocking the ball on in the air and the tackle when they had possession, especially in the opening exchanges. And they failed to keep their discipline allowing the All Blacks a go at them right through the first half.

Nienaber said some were unforced errors by his side, while some were from the pressure New Zealand exerted on them.

But the coach was proud of the way his side fought back after halftime.

“At halftime the score was 20-3 and it was 20 points with the end score for us. So, we scored 17 in the second half and got back into it. But unfortunately, we let it slip in the first 20 (minutes).”


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