Jacques Nienaber. (Photo by Richard Huggard/Gallo Images)
- Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber said his team didn’t doubt that they could beat the All Blacks despite their narrow 19-17 loss to them in Townsville.
- The Springboks suffered their third loss in four games against the All Blacks and the 60th overall in 100 matches.
- Nienaber said the game was indicative of the narrow margins that have been the narrative of the Springbok/All Black rivalry in the past three years.
Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber said his team didn’t doubt that they could beat the All Blacks despite their narrow loss on Saturday.
The Boks lost 19-17 at the Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Townsville in what was the 100th game between the teams.
Nienaber said they’d prepared well for the game and expected it to go down to the wire. Indeed, the game was settled by a late Jordie Barrett penalty.
“Everyone had the belief that we could beat the All Blacks. There wasn’t a speck of doubt in our mind that we could beat them,” Nienaber said.
“We had great preparation all week and there wasn’t a speck of doubt in our mind that we could beat them.
“We knew it was going to be a grind and it was always going to come down to a point or two.
“When you take our recent history, the margins have been very narrow, so its going to be like that at times.”
Nienaber conceded that their two consecutive losses to Australia robbed them of winning momentum leading into the game.
However, Nienaber was quick to point out that he was always confident of success despite their recent downturn in form.
“I can’t speak on behalf of the players, but I was very confident of the win and I thought they had confidence,” Nienaber said.
“By winning, you build momentum and we didn’t have winning momentum going into this game.
“It helps when you have momentum going into a game.”
Nienaber said their much-improved performance warranted a win and the fact they didn’t get it hurt him.
“I thought the effort was excellent and we deserved a victory and in Test matches like these, you’re always in with a shout,” Nienaber said.
“It comes down to small margins, so I can’t fault the effort of the players.
“We put ourselves in a position to win the game and I’m hurting inside because I feel we could have pulled a result and we were in a position to pull a result.
“We won the British & Irish Lions series in the same way the All Blacks won the game today, so some days it goes for you and on others, it doesn’t.”