Video: Bok coach reveals his 'tactical' error
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber admitted he made a crucial tactical mistake during the opening Test match against the British and Irish Lions.
Nienaber made three changes to the starting XV for the side’s must-win second Test against the B&I Lions.
Two of these changes are in the front row – where Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe (prop) replaces injured Retshegofaditswe Nché (neck) and Trevor Nyakane at prop.
The other change is at No.8 – with relatively inexperienced Jasper Wiese replacing Albertus Smith to add physicality to the pack.
The 25-year-old Wiese, who plays for the Leicester Tigers in the Premiership, joined the Springboks squad in 2021 and got his first taste of international rugby against Georgia, before starting for South Africa ‘A’ in the 17-13 warm-up win against the Lions.
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Speaking to reporters in a virtual media briefing, Nienaber explained the addition of Wiese ahead of Smith in the starting line-up.
“Jasper Weise was part of our plans,” Nienaber said, adding: “He played in the Test against Georgia. He came off the bench and Kwagga [Smith] started.
“It’s a nice combination for us. It’s nice giving him a start and then we can use Kwagga [Smith] for all the speed and impact that he brings off the bench this weekend.
“We feel that is playing to our strength.”
With Springboks talisman Duane Vermeulen out of action due to an ankle injury, Smith’s performance in the No.8 jersey received even more scrutiny.
The former BlitzBok Smith’s work rate was incredible during 17-22 defeat.
However, he struggled under the high ball – an area Nienaber admitted he got tactically wrong.
The coach revealed he left Smith ‘out to dry a little bit’, with the way they used the loose forward in the backfield and by not giving him enough protection under the high ball.
“Duane [Vermeulen] is a quality player but so is Kwagga,” Nienaber said, adding: “He was good on the weekend.
“I think tactically, I wasn’t that sharp in terms of protecting him on the high ball.
“As a coach, I could have done it better. I spoke to the team about it, they know about it, and we will definitely look tactically to how we can change a couple of things in terms of that.
“So I think I almost hung him out to dry a little bit there.”
In the hopes of rectifying his wrong, Nienaber believed that Wiese will replicate his form during Premiership this Saturday in the second Test.
“Jasper, the reason why we started looking at him is he was doing very well in the Premiership. His actions in the Premiership when you look at his stats, in terms of his carries and how dominant he was, that’s why we selected him.
“We just want to see, whatever Jasper did to get into the squad, we want to see that on Saturday.”
“I’m sure he will give that to us.”