Aphelele Fassi will play many Tests for the Springboks, says Jacques Nienaber
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CAPE TOWN – Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber says he believes Aphelele Fassi will “play many Tests for the Springboks” following his standout performance against Argentina at the weekend.
On Saturday, the Boks secured a 32-12 win in their Rugby Championship-opener, scoring three tries through Cobus Reinach, Fassi and debutant Jaden Hendrikse.
Fassi’s try was a stunner. After a cross-kick from flyhalf Elton Jantjies, the Sharks fullback gathered the ball as he paced down touch, effortlessly juggling the ball with his left hand to keep it within the field of play before scoring.
After the game, Nienaber heaped praise on the 23-year-old back.
“Aphelele is an unbelievably talented player,” Nienaber said. “He is a fullback, but a fullback and wing should have the same skill set…facing high balls, making decisions, finishing, stuff like that.
“It’s similar to a Dan Carter, when he got into the All Blacks. He was a flyhalf at his club, but he started at 12, almost taking the decision-making role away from him and he was just executing and learning from the player on his inside.
“Although Aphelele trains at fullback, he is currently playing wing for us, which has a similar skill set to 15. We have just taken the decision-making role a little bit away from him. It’s not that he makes bad decisions, but it’s about getting him into the mix, allowing him to get used to the game, the physicality.
“He is taking it on. I love the attitude that he shows. I believe he will play many Test matches for South Africa at 15. He is a quality player and there is a bright future for him.”
Nienaber was also chuffed with Jasper Wiese’s performance.
Having started in the last two Tests against the British & Irish Lions, the big No 8 - who was named Man of the Match - produced his most complete performance in the Bok jersey against Argentina.
With Duane Vermeulen on the road to recovery, Nienaber
“It’s a long season, we’re now only a third of the way through the Tests we’re going to play this year. Duane will fulfil a role for us, Jasper is currently fulfilling a role for us.
“We will have to think outside of the box in terms of how we keep our player fresh, but our strategic goals won’t ever change. We played for our country so the first strategic goal is to win. Our second one is to build depth in our squad.”