The 'external noise' that is troubling the Boks
INTERVIEW: South Africa’s coach Jacques Nienaber has taken a not-so-subtle dig at media hacks that have looked to stir trouble for his team.
The build-up to last week’s 36-20 win over Argentina in a Rugby Championship Round Five outing in Buenos Aires was overshadowed by the Elton Jantjies saga and on matchday by allegations of drug abuse.
The South African Rugby Union moved swiftly to squash the rumours that ‘several’ Springboks had tested positive for the use of illicit drugs.
And the weekend before the Springbok camp also dismissed suggestions of wrongdoing by two members of the squad – Jantjies and team dietician Zeenat Simjee.
The two returned home from the Springboks’ camp in Buenos Aires, after there were reports that the pair had enjoyed a tryst at two guesthouses in the Nelspruit area prior to South Africa’s Rugby Championship campaign.
The off-field issues were again raised this week, as the Boks prepared for their decisive Round Six encounter with Los Pumas at Kings Park in Durban on Saturday.
A frustrated Nienaber said the ‘rugby pressure’ is something the team enjoys.
However, the off-field issues not so much.
“The rugby pressure is always nice,” Nienaber told a media briefing in the build-up to Saturday’s King Park showdown, adding: “That is what you want.
“The other pressure, for me, is disappointing.
“We know the truth and we’ve put up a statement with the truth on it,” he said of their September 11 media release that ‘no team protocols were breached’.
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“We’ve always said we’re going to be truthful.
“If there’s off-the-field stuff that we can comment on that’s truthful, then we’ll do so.
“We’ve got nothing to hide.
“It is irritating, that [external] noise.”
He said that no coach ever wants that kind of pressure on their team.
“It’s got nothing to do with rugby.
“We do like the rugby pressure and we like that fact that [Saturday’s encounter with Los Pumas] is a final,” he said of the Durban decider.
“We like the fact that all four teams are still in it to win it.
“We are going to have an exciting weekend of Rugby Championship action.”