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Nienaber receives heat over Dweba and Vermeulen selections

REACTION: Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber was pressed for answers after his decision to start Joseph Dweba and Duane Vermeulen against the All Blacks backfired in a 23-35 defeat in Johannesburg.


Dweba got the nod to start Saturday’s clash after Bongi Mbonambi got injured in training during the week.

Fans were left surprised by the decision, especially after Malcolm Marx produced an outstanding performance a week earlier in a 26-10 win over the All Blacks in Nelspruit.

Dweba struggled with his line-out throwing and he failed to make an impact in open play in a period when the All Blacks raced to a 15-0 lead in the first half at Ellis Park.

The new Stormers hooker was eventually replaced by Marx in the 29th minute.

When asked why Marx didn’t start the match, Nienaber said: “There is always a reason why we did that – there was a rugby reason for that, but unfortunately it is privileged.

“Every single player knows why we went that route and there is a very logical reason why did that.


“Joseph got an opportunity against New Zealand he will become a better player for that.”

The story continues below…

More early substitutions

Vermeulen, who made his first appearance since recovering from knee surgery, also produced a poor performance and he was replaced by Jasper Wiese after 35 minutes.

The Springbok coaching team also decided to bring Steven Kitshoff on for Ox Nche before half-time.

The Bok coach was asked to explain his penchant for taking players off before the break.


“As I have said in the past, they [starting players] have a specific job to do.

“The moment they have done their job or they are not doing their job anymore then we take them off.

“It has been discussed with the players and they know that is how it works.

“A classic example is the third Test against Wales when we replaced Jasper [in the first half].

“He had a specific job to do and the moment we see a drop in that, we will do the substitution. That is why we have six forwards on the bench.

“That is where we probably differ from other teams.

“You got a specific job to do. If you do that job, you will give everything as long as you can. The moment you cannot do that anymore then we take you off.

“We wanted to give Ox, Duane and Joseph a run.

“They are players that we will definitely use in the future and it was a nice opportunity to give them a little bit of a run and they will get better.”


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