WATCH: Springboks’ ‘Atomic Bomb Squad’ obliterate All Blacks scrum
Jacques Nienaber made a very bold decision on Friday after substitute fullback Willie le Roux had to pull out of the match against the All Blacks with an injury- he called up a flanker in his place.
The usual 6-2 split on the bench for the Boks was suddenly upgraded to a 7-1 split with Kwagga Smith taking le Roux’s spot on the bench. But what came in the second half was truly epic. Nienaber decided to unleash all seven of his forwards in one fell swoop early in the second 40.
Suddenly, Pieter-Steph du Toit was the only starting Bok forward on the pitch, as the newly named ‘Atomic Bomb Squad’ entered the fray- and they made their presence felt.
Within minutes of coming on, the Boks had a scrum five metres from their own line, where they simply bulldozed a patchwork New Zealand scrum which had Jordie Barrett on the flank after his brother Scott had been red carded in the first half.
In what was already a shocking performance by Ian Foster’s men, their scrum was suddenly being obliterated and driven backwards at the rate of knots and conceding an inevitable penalty.
Take a look at the scrum:
How to make a 7/1 bench split work … Total dismemberment of All Black scrum last night. Astonishing performance! pic.twitter.com/wYSo6eHyG5
— Front Row Grunt (@FrontRowGrunt) August 26, 2023
Nienaber talked about the injury to le Roux after the match and the reasoning behind calling up Smith in his place. He said: “It was an unfortunate incident and we didn’t want to risk Willie.
“With the way games have been playing out, there are times when your forwards have to play in the backline, and this offered us the same option.
“It gave us a taste of how to manage things if we perhaps get an injury in a match. Obviously, the least risk would be selecting a five-three split, and a six-two split holds a little more risk, and then a seven-one split is the most-high risk.”