Even Pollard was shocked as Nienaber floats pathetic excuse for Wales loss
As his team lost 13-12 to Wales in the second game of the three-test Castle Lager Incoming Series on Saturday at a jam-packed Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein, Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber received the information he was seeking as well as the agony of an agonizingly late defeat.
Following last week’s 32-29 Springbok victory at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, the Series is now deadlocked at 1-1. At the DHL Stadium in Cape Town on Saturday, the final test will be played.
Wales’ Josh Adams scored the game-winning try in the 78th minute, and Gareth Anscombe successfully converted from the touchline in front of a sold-out crowd of 46,000 spectators. The Boks had a nine-point lead going into the final quarter.
Only lock Eben Etzebeth started both Tests for Nienaber’s squad, which included 14 changes from the starting lineup that defeated Wales the previous weekend. Six players had their first appearances in a Test match.
“We said from the start that we had a plan for 42 players.” said Nienaber. “If we had gone the conservative route and stuck with the same team – and let’s say we didn’t win the test match tonight – then we would probably have never given the other guys an opportunity.
“There was risk, but the answers you get out of it outweigh the risk.”
Handre Pollard’s four penalty goals from six tries accounted for all of the Boks’ points, although they were unable to capitalize on extended stretches of territorial domination.
“I thought the intensity was there and we had a couple of opportunities in the first half when execution cost us,” said Nienaber.
“And then the discipline in the second half cost us. They brought intensity – which is what we asked of them – could the execution be better? Without a doubt.
“We had guys playing their first test match; guys in-form in different competitions all over the world but Test matches are different and small margins cost you games.
“It’s good for the players to understand what a test match intensity is like what your accuracy levels have to be. The players would have learned a lot from that.”
“We play for something much bigger than just a test match result,” he said. “We’re playing for our fans and for South Africa and the whole team feels that we let this phenomenal crowd down tonight by not getting a victory.
“I’ve said all along that Wales were coming here not to compete, they were coming here to win a series. We came here tonight to try and win the Series. We couldn’t but we got some answers.
“Going into the last game it’s going to be a final.”