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Springboks were beaten ’hands down’ in every department by Wallabies

Matt Philip of the Wallabies runs at the Springboks’ defence. Picture: EPA

Matt Philip of the Wallabies runs at the Springboks’ defence. Picture: EPA

Published Sep 18, 2021


CAPE TOWN - Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber admitted that his team were “truly beaten” by the Wallabies in the 30-17 Rugby Championship defeat on Saturday, and that the South Africans will have to review “all our systems” in defence, on attack and with their kicking game.

The Boks were caught napping by the ingenuity and craftiness of the Australians for a second week in a row, following their 28-26 loss on the Gold Coast last week, with the Wallabies mixing up their play smartly at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

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Siya Kolisi and his team missed a number of tackles, Faf de Klerk and Jasper Wiese were yellow-carded, and they were unable to get more reward out of their attacking approach, despite playing with a bit more width than in recent weeks, while the Wallabies ran in four tries to one.

Asked during the post-match press conference which aspect of the Bok performance was the most disappointing, Nienaber said: “Everything! We were truly beaten. Every department … we got hands-down beaten in everything – defence, kicking game, attack. We just made too much errors.

“(Why it happened?) That’s something we will have to figure out in the next week. We will have to figure it out quickly. I can’t put my finger on it. I can only talk about my department – definitely from a defensive viewpoint, we need to change, just do things better.

“I think the last time we conceded four or more tries was against New Zealand in 2018, so this is not something we are normally used to.

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”Again, we will have to have a good look at it, but our thought our one-on-one defence today was poor. We missed too many tackles. So, again, it’s not something I can put my finger on. So, we’ll have to have a look at that.

“From an attack point of view, obviously we will have to review all our systems, and have a look and see, ‘Listen, what went wrong?’. Kicking game, defence and attack – we will have to, in a very short time, have a very good look at it.”

Nienaber was particularly appalled by the poor tackling from the Boks, where they slipped up to 19 tackles, which followed the 21 missed last weekend.

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Having become a defence guru during his Stormers days and continuing in that role with the Boks, Nienaber expressed his frustration with the players.

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“The last time we conceded four tries was against New Zealand in 2018, so three years ago. It definitely wasn’t up to standard. Even in our exit game, that wasn’t up to standard. It was inconsistent – sometimes we had a good outcome, and then other times we had poor outcomes, which actually led to points for them. No, it wasn’t a great performance,” he said.

“From a defence point of view, we just missed too many tackles. It’s not something … If I show you the tackle stats from since I’ve been involved with this squad since 2018, this was an unheard of performance in terms of missed tackles – it just never happens like that.

“It was like, then this guy misses one tackle … But if each player only misses one tackle, it’s 23 missed tackles in a game, and that’s probably what happened tonight. A defence system is there to put a defender across an attacker, and that happened the majority of the time. But then you must make the tackle, and no system can make the tackle for you – that’s you.

“Like I say, it’s not normally – if I look at the stats of the players in the past, they don’t miss those tackles. But tonight, they did. And it wasn’t difficult tackles, where there were massive decisions to be made.

“There was one where I felt we probably had a system failure: the last one that they scored from that scrum (by Marika Koroibete), where they hit it up and hit it up, and came blind on us. It’s something that we knew was coming, and when I looked at our reorganisation on the blindside, that was a system error – we weren’t in the right places.

“So, that’s something we can fix … that’s a system fix. But one-on-one tackles – you just need to make your tackle. And that’s my job, to make sure that they are up for it, that I work on their technique, that their footwork into contact is good. So, I will probably … 90 percent of that has to be in front of my door.”

And next up for the Springboks is the 100th Test against the All Blacks ...


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