We can only play what’s in front of us, says Bok coach NienaberNovember 20, 2022
The Springboks for the second weekend in a row produced a more expansive game plan, and although they just lost against France, they turned it on against Italy to run them ragged, with nine tries for a 63-21 win in Genoa on Saturday afternoon.
Wing Kurt-Lee Arendse was in scintillating form as he ran in two tries and also produced an assist, while fellow backs Cheslin Kolbe, Damian Willemse and Cobus Reinach all got themselves on the scoresheet as well.
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Bok coach Jacques Nienaber was asked if this type of game plan would be the new normal for the team, however he was very quick to say that they were only able to play each game on its merits.
“They (the outside backs) were outstanding today, especially Kurt-Lee. Tonight I felt they got the balance right in terms of asking questions of the defence and exploiting space at the back,” explained Nienaber.
“People always talk about balance and we can only play what’s in front of us. Italy was phenomenal in the beginning, there wasn’t space in the front line and we really had to work hard.
“But I think then we got a bit of space in the back end of the first half and in the second half there was a little bit more space and I thought the game drivers handled it well.
“So it’s always about balance. If there’s no space in the front line you have to look at other avenues to apply pressure on the opposition and if there is space in the front line then you must have the confidence to take it on.”
Immaculate second half
The second half performance from the Boks was immaculate, after they had scored two tries in the first half to take a slender 18-13 lead into the break, they then broke free in the second to run in another seven tries, as the Italians were blown away.
Asked if the second half was close to the perfect performance, Nienaber tempered expectations by saying there was always space to improve.
“I think we capitalised on the opportunities that we created in this particular game, but I don’t think it was a near perfect performance. I think we can always get better,” admitted Nienaber.
“I must say the work that the guys have put in over the past month in terms of how we wanted to head into 2023, they have really bought into it, are taking ownership of it and we are constantly building.
“But one game isn’t good enough, what we need now is consistency. You can always put in a good performance when things go your way. But the challenge is when things don’t go your way, to be able to dig yourself out of it and build consistency, that is the challenge.”