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Nienaber addresses halfback's issues as Bok fans call for the axe

By Rugby365
Elton Jantjies of the Springboks and Herschel Jantjies (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

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Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber said Herschel Jantjies still needs to learn a lot in terms of operating in Northern Hemisphere conditions.

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The scrumhalf’s performance in South Africa’s 30-15 win over Scotland on Saturday has been heavily criticized – backing up another mediocre performance the week before.

The 25-year-old’s distribution was laboured and his kicking game off the mark at Murrayfield. His decision-making was also poor, robbing the Boks of momentum in the first half. He was eventually replaced at half-time by Cobus Reinach, who was excellent in the second half.

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“I spoke to Herschel after the match,” said Nienaber. “He has only played 70 minutes of rugby in Northern Hemisphere conditions. Although it looks sunny it can still be greasy out there.”

Nienaber added: “Rassie [Erasmus] and I found out about it when we came to Munster. The rugby is totally different.

“Although we had a reasonably good day there will still be some difficulties like dew on the grass that we want the players to get used to in the Northern Hemisphere.”

Jantjies also wore the No.9 in the Boks 23-18 win over Wales a week earlier and his performance was less than impressive in Cardiff as well.

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After two poor performances, there will be calls from many fans for Nienaber to start Reinach in that position against England at Twickenham.

“We want to build momentum going into 2022 but we want to do it by giving guys opportunities and getting experience into younger guys,” said Nienaber.

“A guy like Herschel Jantjies has won a World Cup before, but he needs to gain experience in the Northern Hemisphere.

“Even though he is an established player, he needs to know how to operate in these conditions.”

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