Following New Zealand’s comprehensive victory over South Africa at the weekend, Springbok Head Coach Jacques Nienaber has reassembled with his players in Pretoria to prepare ahead of their important match-up against Argentina on the 29th of July. This will be an important challenge for the South Africans after their air of invincibility was given a severe knock by a New Zealand side with the bit between their teeth.
In a statement, Nienaber told the media that his team is resetting and re-preparing in the right way: “We have a settled squad, and everyone is determined to get back to action and to bounce back following the result against New Zealand,
“We are bitterly disappointed about the defeat, but we’ll take the lessons from that match and implement that as we look forward to our final match in the competition” added Nienaber.
Keen to emphasise what an important impact the South African fans have, Nienaber asked their followers to get behind the national side at such an important time
“Playing such a vital match in front of our supporters is always special,” said Nienaber. “This match may not only be the decider of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship, but it’s also the last match we play at home before the World Cup.
“That passionate support almost serves as an extra player for us, so we’d like to appeal to SA’s rugby faithful to come out in their green and gold and make this a memorable send-off for us.”
Argentina will not be an easy challenge, however, especially after dismantling an Australian side last week that are struggling with a sense of identity. Identity is not a problem for the Springboks, however, with their game plan having been worked on and moulded over the years – they know exactly who they are.
Nienaber’s side have an incredible number of players that can slip into each position at any given moment without any real noticeable dip in quality. This gives the Head Coach plenty of options, but also the unenviable task of choosing the right lineup ahead of this year’s World Cup.
“One of the boxes we ticked in the last two weeks was to work on our player load” explained Nienaber. “Getting that balance right is going to be vital so that we can peak at the right time this season.
“We have a sizeable squad, and we need to ensure that we give as many players as possible the chance to stake a claim for places in the World Cup squad, while at the same time getting the desired results so that we can build momentum going into the World Cup.”
Nienaber added: “We have four matches left before the international showpiece and we are still in the race for the Castle Lager Rugby Championship title so we intend getting down to business immediately and making the most of the time we have on and off the training field to get the squad where we would like them to be mentally and physically.”
The match is likely to see a mix of styles with the hard-hitting South Africa likely to take the game to an Argentinian side that prosper from open-play rugby. Not one to rest on their laurels, South Africa will most likely come out strong and look to prove any doubters wrong with an impressive performance.