After the Boks’ disappointing defeat by Australia, what changes should the coaching staff make to ensure that they bounce back in the second Test against the Wallabies on Saturday?
Wallabies flyhalf Quade Cooper – who contributed 23 points with the boot – kicked a penalty goal on the stroke of full time to snatch victory for his team, handing the Springboks their first defeat in the 2021 Rugby Championship.
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It continued the Boks’ winless run in Australia since 2013 and was the Wallabies’ first win over South Africa since 2018.
Nienaber and his coaching team will have plenty to ponder before the two sides meet again at Suncorp Stadium this coming Saturday.
One of the major issues identified in the wake of the defeat was the lack of a backup goal-kicker. Handre Pollard missed three of seven shots at goal for a 57% strike rate. Damian Willemse replaced Pollard in the final 10 minutes of the match, but missed a conversion – his first goal attempt since November 2020 – that would have had the Boks sneaking away with a draw.
More than anything, it highlighted how desperately the Springboks need an alternative kicker to Pollard. The Boks turned to veteran Morne Steyn when Pollard had another off-day during the third Test against the British & Irish Lions and the 37-year-old memorably kicked the match and series winner.
Elton Jantjies, meanwhile, had a good outing against Argentina in Port Elizabeth, converting six of seven goal-kicks in a comprehensive 32-12 win.
After he helped the Bulls retain their Currie Cup title, there have been renewed calls for Johan Goosen to join the squad. Goosen kicked 37 of 43 attempts during the 2021 domestic championship for an 86% strike rate.
It could also be argued that the Bok bench needs a tweak. Nienaber named three replacement loose forwards against the Wallabies in a six-two split, but there is reason for one of those loose forwards to be swapped out for either a replacement flyhalf or a replacement lock.
What changes should the Springboks make to get back on a winning run? SARugbymag.co.za gives you the opportunity to have your say.
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