Boks' 'bomb squad' proved too much for B&I Lions
REACTION: Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber said the impact off the bench proved to be the difference in the second Test against the British and Irish Lions on Saturday.
The Boks were trailing 6-9 at the break before scoring 21 unanswered second-half points and beat the British and Irish Lions 27-9 to level the series.
The Bok pack clearly won the power battles in the second 40 after replacements like Lood de Jager, Trevor Nyakane and Malcolm Marx made their way onto the field.
De Jager was a colossus in the line-outs and mauls, while Nyakane, who normally plays at tighthead, put in a massive shift at loosehead.
Kwagga Smith also played out of his skin when he had to replace an injured Pieter-Steph du Toit early in the first half.
“Last week we lost the second-half battle and I don’t really know what happened in the second half this time,” Nienaber told reporters after the match.
“I think we were really dominant in the second half.
“The players that came off the bench made a huge impact.
“I think the fact that we have been training together for two weeks and having a full week’s preparation has helped.
“I think we are getting a bit more momentum in terms of that.”
The Bok coach said the way the players responded after last week’s defeat – as well as how they took responsibility to improve – made his job easy.
“The players in our leadership group are very experienced, and we are in a fortunate position as coaches to have so many of them,” said Nienaber.
“Last week we lost the kicking game in the second half and the way the players responded during the week to adjust and make better decisions was really great.
“Sometimes I feel more like a facilitator than a coach with all the great inputs we receive from the guys.”
‘Kwagga played a big role’
Meanwhile, Bok prop Steven Kitshoff praised Kwagga Smith after being called on so early in the game.
“I think Kwagga played a big role and he brought a lot of intensity,” said Kitshoff.
“He brought a lot of physicality to the breakdowns and just the way he tackles and the way he keeps people busy.”