Bok coach happy with pressure, but done with ‘irritating’ off-field noises: We’ve got nothing to hide | Sport

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  • Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber is more than happy to cope with rugby-related pressures, but is fed up with off-the-field noises.
  • The Boks have had off-the-field issues they’ve needed to contend with in the past two weeks.
  • Nienaber’s side faces Argentina in a must-win Rugby Championship game at Kings Park in Durban on Saturday.

In Durban

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber said they were more than happy to cope with rugby-related pressures, but added the off-field noises were ‘irritating’.

The Boks, who will face Argentina in what will be a Rugby Championship deciding game at Kings Park on Saturday, have had to weather off-the-field storms in the past two weeks.

One of those storms has robbed them of pivot Elton Jantjies, an absence that’s necessitated Frans Steyn to have a first start at 10 in more than 14 years.

READ | Why Bok coach opted against Elton Jantjies return: ‘It would have been unfair’

As world champions, the Boks have a clear idea of how to deal with pressure on the field. What has come their way from an off-the-field perspective hasn’t sat well with Nienaber, who said they had nothing to hide.

“The rugby pressure is nice because that is what you want, but the other pressure is disappointing,” Nienaber said.

“We know the truth and we’ve put up a statement and we’ve always said we’re going to be truthful and if there’s off-the-field stuff that we can comment on that’s truthful, then we’ll do so.

“We’ve got nothing to hide, so we feel the noise has been irritating. No coach wants their team to have that kind of pressure on their team.”

“It’s got nothing to do with rugby, but we like the rugby pressure, and we like that fact that Saturday’s game is a final.

“We like the fact that all four teams are still in it to win it.”

Springbok team

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Canan Moodie, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Frans Steyn, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff

Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Duane Vermeulen, 21 Kwagga Smith, 22 Faf de Klerk, 23 Kurt-Lee Arends

The Springboks may have seen off Argentina 36-20 in Buenos Aires on Saturday, but it was a far from perfect performance.

What the bonus-point win did was put them in a position where they can decide the fate of the Rugby Championship without worrying too much about the morning game between Australia and New Zealand in Auckland.

This year, Michael Cheika’s side has beaten Australia at home, and New Zealand away and they’re at a venue where they famously beat the Boks seven years ago.

It’s for this reason that Nienaber cannot afford to take the Pumas lightly.

READ | Nienaber backs Bok flyhalf depth: ‘Frans Steyn is Damian Willemse with 70 more caps’

“We’re expecting a hard Test match in terms of good set pieces and I think they have one of the best lineouts in the competition,” Nienaber said.

“They’ve got a good maul and I felt they had our number from a scrumming perspective. They’re playing Test match rugby and that’s why they’re in the running for the Rugby Championship.

“They’ve had some good results. They’ve beaten Australia and New Zealand, so they’ll be a tough team and I expect nothing more than a final.”



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