The Springboks made a winning start to their Rugby Championship campaign, crushing out a win over Los Pumas in Port Elizabeth on Saturday 14 August 2021. In a late team decision Jaden Hendrikse replaced Herschel Jantjies due to injury to make his debut and score a try in a 32-12 win over the Argentinians.
Springbok Coach Jacques Nienaber and Siya Kolisi alluded to the fact that the team grouped well together in terms of scrums and turnovers with no panicking in every decision made. The team was controlled and poised to take the bonus win. Nienaber makes mention that there was an enormous onset of contestable kicking and massive energy and refers to players as running their areas and positions like “trojans.”
Nienaber also went on to make a comparison of Aphelele Fassie to great Dan Carter. “Fassie is an extremely talented fullback and wing. He displayed the exact same skill set in both positions.”
Playing at wing would get him use to the physicality of the game and Nienaber believed he would be best suited in playing that position.
Hendrikse who replaced the injured Herschel Jantjies fitted in the team easily after being exposed to the team practices.
“The week ahead will see the team rest and recover. The team will be playing their fifth match of the season and will continue being Bok smart” said Nienaber. Player welfare has a massive role to play and the team needs to stay fresh while working on their scrums.
He commends Argentina as they were a difficult team to play especially coming from the World Cup. “The Los Pumas faced their second loss and it takes and enormous mindset to get back into the game from losses. They worked extremely hard and still brought the level of intensity to the game and I take my hat off to them,” said Nienaber.
Elton Jantjies makes mention of the importance of attaining the bonus point and the work rate for 80 minutes as the team put the work in and got the correct results. “We are proud of the boy’s professionalism and that made them standout,” said Jantjies.
Nienaber ends off by saying the team has to think out of the box as they are building momentum towards 2023. “The first goal for the team is to win the second test and to expand the squad.”
Story: Fatima Said
Photo courtesy: Gallo Images