Ross Roche
Senior sports writer
2 minute read
3 Aug 2022
1:02 pm

Blitzboks’ win, other successes, puts nice pressure on Boks, says Nienaber

Ross Roche

The Junior Springboks and national women's team have also enjoyed recent wins on the world stage.

The Blitzboks players celebrate their win at the end of the men's gold medal match against Fiji at the Commonwealth Games on Sunday. Picture: Paul Ellis / AFP

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber was full of praise for South African rugby as a whole during the team announcement presser on Tuesday, after a fantastic past month of rugby action across different codes and age groups.

The Blitzboks defied the odds to power to the gold medal in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on Sunday, while the South African Women’s team made history when they beat Japan over the weekend to pick up their first ever win outside of the country.

These were just two of the most recent examples, showing that SA Rugby is currently in a very strong position.

“I said to Rassie (Erasmus) this morning that the rugby department is one area in which SA Rugby is currently smiling, especially with the Blitzboks winning the Commonwealth gold medal,” said Nienaber.

“The South African women’s team also won for the first time ever abroad, and to beat a Japan team that has been on the trot for about 10 games. To go and beat them in Japan is a massive shift from them.

“Even the women’s sevens, with a depleted team as many of the girls were playing for the 15s, went one place better than they did at the last Commonwealth Games.

“So I think women’s rugby is building nicely within SA rugby, it’s a big focus point and we try from the Springbok side to invest as much as we can if we have time available.”

Junior stars

The Junior Springboks also enjoyed recent success when they powered through the Six Nations Summer Series unbeaten, to lift the title in Italy, comfortably beating a number of the best junior sides in the world along the way.

The Craven Week also made a fantastic return to the SA Rugby scene, culminating with a match between the SA Schools and SA A Schools teams in Cape Town last month.

“I also thought the Junior Boks did very well, and although I didn’t see the SA schools game as it was just before our Test match in Cape Town, apparently the two SA schools sides played well,” said Nienaber.

“So I think all in all there is a lot of pressure on us because our other teams are performing. So that puts nice pressure on us. But it’s nice to see that things are working and turning nicely in the rugby department.”