VIDEO: Tonga to face #BIG Bok backlash
South Africa will look to make a statement against Tonga in Marseille this coming Saturday, following their deflating loss to Ireland in Paris this past weekend.
The 8-13 loss to Ireland in a Pool B match at the Stade de France left the Springboks with a massive #MustWin game on their hands.
And Tonga could be on the receiving end of that backlash at Stade de Marseille.
Coach Jacques Nienaber and captain Siya Kolisi both said the loss provided them with some ‘valuable lessons’.
They are determined to set the record straight in their last pool match before the play-offs.
Ireland not only cemented their No.1 world ranking, but took command of Pool B with their impressive win over the defending champions in Paris at the weekend. They top the pool with 14 points – leaving them just one point shy of a play-off spot – after their win over the Springboks in a bruising encounter at Stade de France.
South Africa, after winning their first two matches, bagged a losing bonus point from the loss – leaving them hovering perilously in second place on 10 points.
The Springbok need to secure a full-house five points when they face Tonga in Marseille this coming Sunday, October 1.
Scotland have five points after drubbing Tonga 45-17 in Nice on Sunday to keep their hopes of making the World Cup quarterfinals alive.
They will look to bag another five against Romania in Lille this coming Saturday, September 30 – before a potential winner-takes-all clash against the Irish in the two sides’ final pool game on October 7 in Paris.
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However, for South Africa to avoid getting into that dog fight, they #MUST beat Tonga convincingly with a bonus point in Marseille.
The Bok coach, Nienaber, said the Paris encounter with Ireland was a “proper Test”.
“As I said before the game, I think both teams would learn a lot from this game,” he said, adding: “The two best teams played against each other at a massive intensity and physicality.
“We were tested mentally.
“A player like Manie [Libbok], this will be the most pressure he has ever faced in a Test and he will get better at it.
“The same for a guy like Kurt-Lee [Arendse], it would be the most pressure he faced.
“They will be familiar with the pressure of playing in a kock-out game.
“That is the pressure you expect in a quarterfinal, semifinal or a Final in the World Cup.
“From a team perspective, we got good preparation out of it in terms of intensity and physicality.
“Unfortunately we didn’t get the result.”
The captain, Kolisi, also said that there won’t be a lot of finger-pointing and that they will take the loss as a ‘collective’.
He pointed to defence as one aspect that was outstanding against Ireland.
“The intensity of the game is exactly what we needed.
“We know what we need to do and we must lift our heads and we have a big game against Tonga.
“If we dwell too much on what happened against Ireland, we will forget to perform next week .”
(WATCH as South African coach Jacques Nienaber and captain Siya Kolisi explain how they will react to the loss against Ireland…)
Nienaber pointed to issues at the breakdown as an area to work on this coming week.
“I think that’s one area where Ireland was exceptional,” he said in his post-match reaction.
“That’s probably one of the biggest reasons why we didn’t get momentum.
“We were overpowered at our attacking breakdowns,” he said, adding those resulted in a number of ‘lost opportunities’ close to the Ireland line.
“We will just train harder and get better at it.
“We knew it was coming, it is something they do regularly,” he said, admitting they were not caught unawares.
“We made some plans during the week, that we thought would negate their tactics at defensive breakdowns.
“Obviously, it didn’t work consistently.
“Those are the lessons we will take out of this game.
“We will have to make new plans on how to deal with that better.”
Kolisi said the Irish were ‘more accurate’ and ‘faster’ than the Boks at the breakdown.
“As [coach] Jacques [Nienaber] said, we knew it was coming.
“We were attacking so well, but when we got into their 22 – when we should have secured points – all the opportunities we lost were through those breakdown turnovers.
“That is us, as players, we take full responsibility.
“Hopefully we will meet them again.”