Depth is the beauty of this Springboks side, says Jacques Nienaber
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CAPE TOWN - Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber has hailed the performance of his much-changed side in their 32-12 Rugby Championship victory over Argentina at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday.
The Boks made 12 changes to the matchday squad from the one that beat the British & Irish Lions 19-16 at Cape Town Stadium a week ago to win the Series 2-1.
While he admitted after the game that continuity was a bit of a concern leading up to their Championship-opener, the Bok coach was rightfully pleased with how the guys went.
The all-new front row of Ox Nche, Joseph Dweba and Wilco Louw did a superb job, while the halfback pairing of Cobus Reinach and Elton Jantjies had top outings.
Aphelele Fassi shone on the wing, while Jasper Wiese produced his best performance in a Bok jersey with a Man-of-the-Match display. Individually, the Boks were just good all round.
“The nice thing is when you make so many changes, the positive thing is that there is nice energy, they haven’t played in a while and you could see the guys who played a lot during the Lions Series were a bit sore. The problem with that is continuity, but they handled it well," Nienaber said after the game.
“We will have a look and see (if we’re going to make changes). Argentina are a proud rugby nation and they will definitely come back, so we will have to look at the injuries and the changes we make.
“We knew that cohesion would be an issue with so many changes, but the guys got really stuck in. Argentina are a tough nut to crack but hats off to the players ... I thought their analysis they did was spot on and the plans they put in place were great.
“That (depth) is the beauty of the squad in terms of competition. Our training sessions have been filled with competition. The guys know if they don’t do their best then the next guy will take over.”
The Springboks face Los Pumas in the second Test on Saturday before heading to Australasia.