NAGOYA – South Africa defence coach Jacques Nienaber has warned Rugby World Cup rivals the team has emerged stronger from its opening 23-13 Pool B loss to New Zealand in Yokohama.
The Springboks dominated large parts of the match on Sept. 21 but were undone by two tries in four minutes from the world champions, both coming from South African errors in fielding high balls.
Bok coach Rassie Erasmus said afterwards that the All Blacks had played almost a 'South Africa-style' kicking game that meant his side had to adapt their tactics, and Nienaber believes the lessons from the match will only strengthen the squad for later in the tournament.
“I told Rassie it is probably a benefit to have almost played a semi-final style game in the pool stages,” Nienaber told reporters in Nagoya.
“I know it is a cliché that everybody says when they lose, that 'we learnt a lot out of it', but we did. For us it was a great match in terms of tactical, physical and getting challenged in all departments.