Nienaber: Trevor and Ox have specific roles
REACTION: Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber has opened up on his decision to start Trevor Nyakane and Ox Nche ahead of Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe in his Bok team to face the British and Irish Lions on Saturday.
Nyakane’s inclusion in the starting XV was a surprise for some, after his poor performance for South Africa ‘A’ against the B&I Lions last week.
The 32-year-old gave away a few scrum penalties and he failed to make an impact in open play as well.
When asked about Nyakane’s problems in the scrums, Nienaber said: “I’m sure [scrum coach] Daan [Human] sorted that out.
“I am very comfortable with Trevor at tighthead.
“He has got a specific role that he has to fulfil and he knows what that is.”
Nienaber added: “We see our front row forwards as a unit.
“Ox [Nche] has specific things that he has to achieve starting the game for us and then obviously Kitsie coming off the bench brings different skills to the game in the second half.
“We could have gone with Kitshoff starting and Ox off the bench, but Ox brings good line speed and good dynamism.
“He is a loosehead that can chase with loose forwards in a kicking game.
“There is a specific role that we want Ox to achieve for us and it is the same with Trevor and then we will bring on Kitsie and Frans Malherbe in the second half.
“They [Kitshoff and Malherbe] have a specific role and skill set that they have to bring to the party [in the second half].
“We are fortunate that we have quality props and a quality front row.”
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The five-three split
Meanwhile, Nienaber also explained that concerns over Handre Pollard and Makazole Mapimpi’s fitness were the reasons why they have not gone for a six-two split between forwards and backs on the bench.
Those players were not involved in matches for South Africa ‘A’ against B&I Lions and the Bulls due to spending time in isolation last week.
“Handre hasn’t been involved in a lot of rugby.
“We will go with a six-two split if it is available to us and if we feel confident.
“Handre has just come back from Covid and it is the same with Mapimpi.
“We just thought that it is probably not the right time to go with just two backs on the bench,” Nienaber added.