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'We know it is a risk' -The tactic Nienaber admits backfired for Boks

By Ian Cameron
New Zealand and South African players shake hands as the match ends with the former winning during The Rugby Championship match between South Africa and New Zealand at Emirates Airline Park on August 13, 2022 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

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South Africa head coach Jacques Nienaber has conceded that the 6-2 split on the bench may have backfired for the Springboks in Jo’burg yesterday.

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South Africa fell to a 35-23 defeat to the All Blacks at Ellis Park, a result that few saw coming after an abysmal performance by the New Zealander just seven days earlier.

The Boks had to surmount the early loss to concussion of wing Jesse Kriel in the opening minutes, a task that was all the more difficult given their 6-2 split between forwards and backs on the bench, a tactic they’ve frequently gone to for big matches.

“We were over the try-line three times but we got zero points for that and rightly so,” said Nienaber. “But we created the opportunities – just sometimes it goes for you and you score those tries. There were nice opportunities but sometimes it goes against you. The 6-2 bench split sometimes works for you and sometimes against you.

“I think since we have been back, we have coached 45 games and we’ve probably gone with a 6-2 split more than 30 times and it did bring us some positive results with a World Cup win and series victory over the British & Irish Lions, but saying that we know it is a risk if you get a backline injury and it’s just unfortunate.”

“We weren’t as accurate as we were last week and they kept offloading, taking high risks which we didn’t contain that well,” said Nienaber.

“I thought we did well to come back; 15-0 down against the All Blacks is a tough ask to get back into the game, which we managed to do in the back end of the first half and up to 73 minutes. And then we slipped at the back end.”

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The Springboks will now travel to Australia for their next match is against the Wallabies in Adelaide on 27 August.

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