The Springbok team to face Australia in the fourth round of the Rugby Championship at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday morning shows just three changes from the team that lost to the Wallabies by two points a week ago. The changes are amongst the forwards with Trevor Nyakane starting at loose-head prop and Steven Kitshoff moving to the bench.
Marvin Orie starts at lock in place of the injured Lood de Jager, who is in the midst of concussion protocols. It is basically the same Springbok side that lost to Australia on the Gold Coast a week ago.
The way the match ended and the series of scrums that led up to the finish will certainly be fresh in their minds on the match day.
While Trevor Nyakane, who starts at loosehead prop this weekend, was not on the pitch, he was able to offer an insight into how the Springbok pack is feeling right now, and what they intend on doing about it at the Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.
“It hurts us as a pack, it doesn’t matter when and how it happens for us we always want to be dominant. If the scrum happens in the halfway line or in their own five-meter and they manage to get a penalty it will always hurt us. We always strive to be dominant and to try and get 100% scrums that we go in, so it was tough to see that and we as a team knew that we have to come back and look at those pictures and try to understand what actually happened and see if we followed our system and we did what we had trained for. So, we have looked at those images and it is deep in our heart, it is sore, it is buried in the back of our minds. We know what they are capable of and we know they will even come much harder than they did last week.”
Still smarting from the narrow loss, and yet there were no wholesale changes to the team, Handre Pollard is still backed at flyhalf.
Springbok coach, Jacques Nienaber wants to prevent any knee-jerk reactions in looking to fix a problem.
“We try to take as much emotion out of it as possible and when we looked at it from an unemotional point of view, yes nobody misses goals because they want to, nobody knocks a ball on because they want to, nobody misses a tackle because they want to, and if you look at it unemotionally you say we could have won that test match and then nobody would have said anything, you know.”
The Springboks are also looking at ways to improve communication with the referee, so that they know how the officials are looking at situations, and also so that there is accountability and players do not suffer in team selection when it transpires later that the referee got a call wrong.
“That’s all we want from coaches, from our teams’ point of view is to have clarity on the first day, the test match on Sunday, Monday do our review the referees, do their review, we align on Tuesday so when we select the team or we start talking about team selection that we don’t nail a player because we thought his discipline was poor. If it comes back from a referee that is a better option there would have been play on,” says Nienaber.
The Springboks come to the Suncorp Stadium with only one win in seven previous performances.
It is not a happy hunting ground, rather a Wallaby stronghold, and possibly the worst ground for the Boks to try and bounce back from last week.