‘A lot to work on,’ but Nienaber gives Springboks the thumbs up
The Bok head coach was pleased with the way the players closed out the game, as well as the step up made in defence.
Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber ahead of the third Test decider against Wales on Saturday. Picture: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images
However, it all came together swimmingly for the hosts, as they put in their most convincing performance of the series to claim a 30-14 win on Saturday that could very easily have been so much more if they had taken all their chances.
A packed stadium of over 50,000, largely partisan, fans roared the Boks to a comfortable win in the end to give them the perfect springboard into the rest of their season.
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“I thought the atmosphere was awesome. Cape Town came out like they always do. In terms of the game we had a specific plan and things didn’t always go according to plan,” said Bok coach Jacques Nienaber.
“Obviously winning the series was one of the big things we were trying to achieve and luckily it worked out for us in the end.
“I still think there is a lot for us to work on. We created a lot of opportunities similar to last week, which we didn’t capitalise on, but in every Test this series we picked a team that we believed could beat Wales.”
Having let Wales back into the game in the second half as the visitors reduced the deficit to just three points at a stage, a strong final 25 minutes then followed as the Boks pulled away and protected their lead over the rest of the match.
“We had a long conversation after last week (the loss in Bloemfontein) that we had to handle the game better in the final 20 minutes when in control of the scoreboard,” explained Nienaber.
“So this week I thought we were a lot more aligned and clinical in how to play when we have scoreboard pressure and the type of style that we have to play when finishing the game.”
Defensive step up
Nienaber was also thrilled with the step up in defence from the Boks over the series, after they conceded three tries in the first match, but then only conceded two tries over the next two games.
“Defence is something that we have built up nicely. If you think back to the first Test I don’t think our defence was the strongest department on the field. I think we got better in the second Test, the team we selected there really defended well,” said Nienaber.
“Then today there were passages where I felt we could have done better. I thought Wales had a good plan in terms of keeping the ball alive and not getting to the breakdown, so we had to adjust a little bit at halftime.
“But you can’t fault the players’ effort in the one on one collisions, they made that personal, that’s all we can ask and I thought they did that brilliantly.”