'Two poor games away from being fired - that's the reality'
Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber has refused to speculate on what is going on inside the All Blacks camp but admitted that he understands the pressure that comes with defeats. The rugby world is eager to see if Ian Foster’s side can bounce back after their demoralising 1-2 series against Ireland in July.
Foster’s future as All Blacks head coach has dominated headlines over the last weeks and there have been questions around whether New Zealand have the players to get back on top. Having named a Springboks team showing three changes from their last outing versus Wales, Nienaber was asked for his thoughts on the All Blacks in the lead-up to this Saturday’s Rugby Championship opener in Nelspruit.
“If I comment on what is happening in their camp and how he [Foster] feels then that will be speculation,” explained Nienaber. “I don’t know what their deal is or how things operate between him and the CEO.
“As coaches and players, we know that when you represent your county there is always going to be pressure. If you are a coach or a player you are two poor games from being dropped and you are two poor games away from being fired. That is the reality and one lives with that.”
Nienaber also shared his observations from the Ireland series that the All Blacks lost. “Ireland are a quality side and they pitch up with intensity and their execution was quite good in the plan they had.
“We are not Ireland, we are not Leinster and we don’t play like them, but the main thing that we took out of that is whatever plan you decided on for the All Blacks, you will have to bring intensity and you will have to bring accuracy.”
The Springboks will also be encouraged by the way Ireland used their mauls to good effect against the All Blacks. “You must have balance and Ireland had balance. They scored with maul tries, but they also had other means of attacking.
“The lineout maul will always be a big part of the game and it’s an exciting part of the game because there are a lot of technical and tactical decisions you have to make as a defensive side in terms of how you are going to control that. That might open up space somewhere else which you can attack if you want to.”
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