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'Bad luck': Nienaber opens up on Du Toit's red card

SPOTLIGHT: Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber praised his team’s fighting spirit in their 26-30 loss to France in Marseille on Saturday.


Both teams scored two tries in the match, with Springbok captain Siya Kolisi and wing Kurt-Lee Arendse crossing the chalk for the visitors as the side clawed their way back from 0-13 down after Bok loose forward Pieter-Steph du Toit received a red card in the 12th minute, while replacement forward Deon Fourie was yellow carded with 10 minutes to play.

Du Toit was sent off by referee Wayne Barnes for a head collision at a ruck.

“It’s bad luck and it was a red card,” said Nienaber.

“We had some tactical plans and I am not going to share too much about that.

“The main thing is that rest of the pack had to put in 10 percent extra. That is why the loss hurts because they did that and they kept us in the game.

“We were 0-13 down and they kept on fighting and they got us back into the game.”


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Nienaber believes that Saturday’s result again showed how competitive it is between the top nations in the world.

“The effort the players delivered was extraordinary, and the in the end goal kicks proved to be the difference on the scoreboard,” said the coach.

“The reality is that we lost by four points against the second-ranked team in the world at home and by three points against the top-ranked team.


“We are facing Ireland in the pool stages of the World Cup and we could face France or New Zealand in the quarterfinal, so we have to keep working hard as a team.”

Kolisi shared his coach’s sentiments and he lauded his teammates for fighting until the end: “We kept on working for one another after the red card and we are proud of that It’s horrible to lose and especially like that. The guys played well and they kept on fighting, but France played a little better.

“They are a great side and they showed it by being unbeaten in 12 games. They have a strong pack and backs that can take the opportunities, and they had a great atmosphere behind them in the match.”

Looking ahead at the World Cup that will be hosted in France next year, Nienaber said although France would be among the favourites, the competition was wide open.

“They [France] are certainly close to one of the favourites,” said Nienaber.

“The last game they lost was against Australia in 2021 and they have won 12 on the trot now. I don’t think there is any other team that has come close to that streak recently.

“That said, one could see by Italy’s win (against Australia earlier on Saturday) that there is a lot of competition in world rugby at the moment.”

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