JOHANNESBURG – Springboks defence specialist and assistant coach Jacques Nienaber believes the team will be stronger after their defeat to New Zealand at the Rugby World Cup.
Nienaber said the team has already incorporated the lessons they took from the 23-13 defeat into their preparations for Saturday’s African derby against Namibia.He believes the experience was the perfect preparation for the playoff challenges the team is hoping to experience at the end of the pool phase.“It’s always a benefit playing the No 1 team in the world. It was like playing a semi-final game in your pool. I thought we learned a lot from it. For us, it was a great match in terms of tactics, physical confrontation, getting challenged in all departments; mentally, the build-up during the week, the enormity of the game, then in the game itself, the physicality, the speed of the game”, he said.Nienaber said to play a team as clinical as the All Blacks would stand them in good stead for the matches to come.“You know if you play the All Blacks and you make two errors, it’s 14 points – we made three consecutively and it was 17 points. So it’s nice to play a game like that where there is that much pressure and where if you make a mistake they’re going to punish you”, he said.Despite the raft of changes ahead of the Namibia clash, Nienaber said they would still look to improve and evolve defensively.“Our system will develop and obviously New Zealand opened up something in the way they attack and their style of play that we have to address and work on; so it was nice to get that insight and start focusing on that. I thought we had an unbelievable vibe at the training on Wednesday in terms of the intensity and the things that we wanted to fix. So we had a nice focus and that’s the nice thing. These guys haven’t played for two or three weeks so they had an abundance of energy”, he said.“We’ve got a plan in terms of developing the squad. That will always take precedence over everything else”, he added
The Springboks play Namibia at 11:45 on Saturday.