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VIDEO: 'We don't need to spy on anybody, we just analyse them'

South African coach Jacques Nienaber sidestepped the SpyGate saga with the same agility that his fleet-footed flyers score tries with.


Seen as an attempt to cast aspersions on the Springboks’ integrity, a report this week emerged linking the defending champions, South Africa, to claims of spying in the 2021 British and Irish Lions series.

The London-based broadsheet daily, The Telegraph, carried a report that suggested the World Cup had been plunged into a spying controversy.

Quoting anonymous sources, the newspaper said ‘certain teams’ will deploy espionage tactics in France.

According to The Telegraph, a ‘leading nation’ has approached World Rugby to clarify the sanctions for any team that is caught illegally observing another’s training.

It then quoted a ‘source’ that suggested the Springboks spied on the B&I Lions in 2021.

The newspaper pointed to the heightened security measures at team hotels and training as ‘evidence’ of a need to clamp down on spying.


However, the newspaper then debunked its own story by saying the increased security – six police officers and the same number of private security personnel per team – is primarily to combat any ‘terrorist threat’ and help with travel to and from training – rather than monitoring any spying or cheating by other teams.

Nienaber said that while he is not a ‘subscriber’ to social media, his wife told him about all the rumour-mongering.

He made it clear he was not speaking on behalf of other teams, but purely South Africa.

(WATCH as Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber addresses the grapevine whispering that has linked his team to a supposed ‘spy scandal’ at the World Cup in France…)

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The Bok coach pointed to their policy of revealing their team to the players on a Monday and announcing to the public by a Tuesday – or four days ahead of the game – as an example of their transparency.


“We get our team out as quickly as possible,” Nienaber told a media gathering at the team’s training base in Toulon.

South Africa starts their World Cup title defence with a Round One encounter with Scotland in Marseille on Sunday.

“We don’t believe people knowing or not knowing our team has any bearing on the match.

“I don’t think there are people out there that don’t know how we operate.

“We are as transparent as we can be.”

He said with all the technology available there is no need to spy on teams.

There is enough information out there to analyse the opposition, without employing any cloak-and-dagger espionage.

“I’ll use Scotland as an example, because we are playing Scotland on Sunday.

“Rassie [Erasmus] and myself have been coaching against [Scotland coach] Gregor [Townsend] since 2016.

“When he coached Glasgow, we played them in the European Cup and the Pro12. We played Glasgow four times in one year.

“Coaching against Gregor, the style of coaching and the type of game his teams play, we have seen from 2016.

“We get very familiar with coaches and what they do.

“With proper analyses, you get a very good idea of what you are going to face on the weekend.

“There might be some tweaks, but everyone has a good idea of what teams do.

“If I ask you, do you think we’ll maul, you will say yes.

“That doesn’t mean you spied on us, it is because you know us.

“I don’t understand the spying thing, because through proper analyses you have a pretty good idea of what is coming.”


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