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The Roar


'Not worthy of the Springboks jersey': 'Sorry' coach's brutal honesty after 'worst' game since 2018

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18th September, 2021
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South African coach Jacques Nienaber was brutally honest as he surveyed the wreckage of a second straight loss to the Wallabies at Suncorp Stadium.

While pressure is sure to intensify on him in the wake of the 30-17 defeat, he was in no mood to hide.

Asked what disappointed him the most, Nienaber replied: “Everything. We were really beaten. Every department. We got hands down beaten in everything. Defence, kicking game, attack.”

Asked by South African media how the World Champions had been so comprehensively outplayed by Dave Rennie’s resurgent Australians, Nienaber was at a loss to explain it.

“That is that something we will have to figure out in the next week,” Nienaber said.

“We will have to figure it out quickly. I can’t put my finger on it.”

The Springboks don’t have the luxury of time to get their game right. Next up are two matches against their great rivals, the All Blacks. Next week’s clash between them is their landmark 100th Test.

(Photo by Jono Searle/Getty Images)

Based on Saturday’s dismal showing a humiliation that would leave a proud nation seething can’t be ruled out.


“It’s going to be a massive challenge, which is not positive,” Nienaber said. “But it’s nice to play against our SANZAAR brothers again, you know, you get tested differently.

“And for us, it’s a big eye opener in terms of that. And that that’s how big the challenge will be against New Zealand. It’s going to be a massive challenge.”

He was asked if the coaching staff had prepared adequately to counter the Australian game plan.

“It didn’t look like it. But we did,” said Nienaber. “And obviously we as coaches we will have to have a look at it. Obviously we didn’t get it right.”

He was full of praise for the victors and how they had changed things up after being whacked by New Zealand.

“I think they’re well balanced side. They’ve got a bigger focus, I would say, on exiting and not over playing.

“I think against New Zealand they maybe did overplay, they conceded four intercept tries. They played a lot more territory.

“They were brilliant tonight. This is probably our worst performance since Argentina 2018.”


Nienaber was asked what he would say to Boks fans.

“Oh, sorry. That’s all we can say we can say is we apologise. This is not a performance that I would say was worthy enough for the Springbok jersey.

“We can just sincerely apologise, from everybody. This was a very poor performance.”

Nienaber was asked if he was committed to South Africa’s low possession high kicking tactics.

“I think definitely from a defensive viewpoint we need to change changes do do things better, you know. I think the last time we consider four tries was against New Zealand in 2018. This is not something that we are normally used to.

“Our one on one defence today was poor. We missed too many tackles.”