- Springbok coach Jack Nenaber said they got the answers they wanted from the rugby championship’s opening two matches despite mixed results over this past weekend in Tshwane and Auckland.
- They beat Australia 43-12 last week with a largely second-class team, but were knocked down by the All Blacks in Auckland on Saturday.
- Nenaber lamented that they were unable to turn their chances into something more tangible, especially in the first half.
Springbok coach Jack Nenaber said they got the answers they were looking for in two matches of the Rugby Championship despite losing 35-20 to the All Blacks in Auckland on Saturday.
The Springboks’ management sent out a leading party in the run-up to the Wallaby Test last week, and won 43-12 by a largely second side.
Many of those players started at Mount Smart Stadium and some rust was evident as the All Blacks stormed to an indomitable 17-0 lead in 16 minutes.
In a World Cup year, coaches have to load their very carefully chosen dice and hope to get some answers from certain players.
Nenaber backed their strategy of having a group of 13 players travel to New Zealand a week before the World Cup on the horizon.
“The whole idea was to follow the strategy we had and most players had a chance to play,” Nenaber said.
“We have one more game left in the rugby championship, as we have three warm-up matches before the World Cup.
“Our plan was to win the rugby championship and also be evaluated because we still have four more games to get our house in order before we go to the World Cup.
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“We have good answers from both games.”
Nenaber thought he regretted not taking their chances better in the first half when they made their late fight.
Cheslin Colby had what looked like a point-down cross kick that was chalked up for a knockdown, while Eben Etzebeth appeared to have crossed the line in the first half, only for the Boks to be penalized for a neck-roll fouled by Lood de Jager.
Their kicking game, which was far below the All Blacks’ game on the night, was not short, Nenaber said, but they were hurt by their inability to consistently convert chances into points, similar to last year’s Ellis Park match.
“I wouldn’t look at the kicking game in general, but I think, just like the Ellis Park game, we didn’t start well, we didn’t take our chances well,” said Nenaber.
as it happened | All Blacks 35-20 Springboks
“We crossed the try line with Colby’s try before it was ruled a knockout and Eben was also over the line.
“When you play against the All Blacks, even when you get the smallest chances, you have to take them.
“We crossed the line and didn’t get those points, a similar script to the Ellis Park game where we crossed the line, but didn’t get the points.”