Nienaber laments almost inexplicable tackle misses

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber says it’s very difficult to explain why there were so many missed tackles against Australia for a second week in a row.

In the Boks’ first encounter against the Wallabies last Sunday, the Boks missed 21 tackles in what captain Siya Kolisi called one of their poorest defensive efforts in a long time.

However, individual errors – particularly in the first half- once again haunted the Boks on Saturday as they slipped to another humbling defeat against Australia.

After another 19 missed tackles, Nienaber was asked to explain what exactly had gone wrong with the defensive system, something the Springboks have prided themselves on, in the past two games.

“Look, a defence system is there to put a defender across an attacker,” he said. “That happened the majority of the time. But then you must make your tackles. No system can make the tackle for you. That’s up to you.

“If I look at the stats of the players in the past, they don’t miss those tackles. But tonight they did. They weren’t difficult tackles, where there were massive decisions that had to be made.

“The only system failure was the last try they scored, from the scrum where they hit it up and then come blind on us. We knew that was coming  and when I look at our organisation, that was a system error. That’s something we can fix. But one-on-one tackles, you just have to make them. But 90% of that has to be on me. I work on their technique and footwork into the tackle.”

As the Boks’ defence coach, Nienaber said one of the four tries scored by Australia was a system error, but the rest were down to poor defensive execution.

“Guys missed tackles today that they normally make If every player in the team misses just one tackle, you will have 23 missed tackles and at times it felt like that was happening.

“We executed poorly and that led to points against us as well. We did create some opportunities, but the error rate just nullified that. This was an unheard-of performance today, to be honest.”

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Craig Lewis