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Nienaber on why Boks are kicking good ball away

REACTION: Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber has defended his team’s attacking approach in their defeat to the All Blacks in Townsville on Saturday.


New Zealand won 19-17 after a late Jordie Barrett penalty goal handed his team the lead with less than two minutes to play.

After the game, the focus was again on the Springboks’ game plan, which received a lot of criticism in recent weeks.

Against the All Blacks, the Boks kicked a lot of ball away in open play even when they were in great attacking positions in the All Blacks’ half.

When they did have the ball in hand it was mostly carried by their forwards.

“People always say attack space and that is how you play rugby, but if they have 14 [players] on the frontline and only one at the back then there is not a lot of space in the frontline,” Nienaber told reporters after the game.

“I back the players to make good decisions.


“Sometimes the space is in behind. If we can create a one-on-one in a passing game or a one-on-one in the air, you are creating the same thing.

“So, depending on where the space is that is where our players are told to attack.

“The moment we get a one-on-one, if it is through the air or if it is through running or if it is through passing, we will attack that space.”

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‘I am hurting’

Nienaber said the defeat hurts because they were leading after 78 minutes.

“We were in it at the end and we put ourselves in a position to win the game,” said Nienaber.

“I am hurting yes, as we could have pulled it off. We believed that those kicks were effective, and all created one on one situations, which is something we wanted to achieve.

“We had opportunities, they had opportunities. A call here, a bounce of the ball there, that was how close it was.”

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