Jacques Nienaber launched an impassioned defence of the Springboks’ gameplan when questioned about the team’s attack ahead of the Test against England on Saturday. DYLAN JACK reports.
Nienaber’s defence comes after the world champions put nine tries past Italy in a 63-21 victory in Genoa for the Boks’ largest winning margin over the Azzuri in Italy.
A constant criticism that has run through from the Erasmus era to Nienaber’s tenure as head coach is the effectiveness of the Bok attack. Pundits and fans, particularly those from overseas, have attacked the Boks for being one-dimensional and overly reliant on their defence, kicking and set-piece.
“That’s where we must be aligned in terms of the team. We know what the reality is and what the facts are,” said Nienaber on Tuesday. “That’s what I mean when I say not all the facts are out there.
“People form their own opinion on your style of play. If you think of the  World Cup final, who scored our tries? Look at Kurt-Lee Arendse. He has scored against France and Italy. He has played six Tests and scored six tries.
“Those are the on-field facts that we know. But again, we can’t control the narrative that gets put out there, that we are boring, that we don’t attack, that we just kick and tackle. We can’t control that and all the energy we put into that, you won’t change that narrative. That’s what people want to drive.
“As long as you are truthful – on and off the field – with the facts available, you have shared it with the players and the players know what the truth is, that’s all we can do.
“I don’t know if we will ever get respect, but as long as we are comfortable with what we are putting out there and trying to achieve and we are open and honest with each other, we are happy.”
The Springboks will finish their outgoing tour with a Test against England at Twickenham on Saturday evening.
Photo: Twitter: @Springboks