Springboks boss not reaching for panic button
SPOTLIGHT: Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber has insisted the Bulls’ defeat to Benetton does not serve as a prelude for the upcoming Test series against British and Irish Lions.
The Bulls headed to Italy as firm favourites against Benetton in the inaugural Rainbow Cup final.
However, the South African franchise was outplayed and had to settle for an 8-35 defeat to the Italian team.
While the Bulls have been crowned Super Rugby Unlocked and Currie Cup champions last season, their Italian counterparts did not win a single match in last season’s Pro14 campaign.
For the South African teams (Bulls, Stormers, Sharks and Lions) joining the Pro14 teams in the United Rugby Championship, which kicks off in September it is definitely a wake-up call.
However, regarding the South African international side, Nienaber revealed the Bulls’ performance in no testament of the Springboks’ form, using the 2019 Super Rugby campaign as an example.
“If you look at the World Cup year, you would see that our franchises did not perform too well during that year,” Nienaber told reporters via a virtual media briefing on Monday.
“In fact, none of our teams made it past the quarterfinals, [but the Springboks won the World Cup].
“Last year, Argentina played no club or franchise rugby but managed to pull off a victory against the All Blacks.
“So, I really don’t think franchise rugby’s result is directly correlated with international rugby, both positive or negative.
“As the Springboks, we have certain things we need to get in place. We can’t focus on what the franchises are doing,”
He added: “Obviously we think if we tick certain high-performance criteria we will get a result against the Brtish and Irish Lions,”
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The Bok coach will have his first look at the British and Irish Lions team when they face Japan this weekend at Murrayfield.
B&I Lions defence coach Steve Tandy said they will be treating the game against Japan on Saturday as a full-blooded Test match which is ideal for Nienaber.
“We will definitely have a look at that game,” Nienaber answered when quizzed about the Lions’ preparation fixture.
“However I’m not sure if Warren Gatland will reveal his hand, but we will definitely review the match.”
— rugby365.com (@rugby365com) June 22, 2021