Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber has said that his side deserved to win their Rugby Championship encounter against the All Blacks.
New Zealand claimed a narrow 19-17 victory against South Africa to win the Rugby Championship with a game to spare, in what was the 100th test match between the two sides.
The All Blacks were the strong favourites heading into the game against the reigning world champions, after South Africa lost two consecutive games to Australia, while New Zealand are currently unbeaten this year.
Nienaber was speaking speaking at a press conference after the game and lauded his side’s efforts against the All Blacks at the Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Australia.
Jacques Nienaber on the Springboks’ narrow loss to the All Blacks.
“The effort was excellent and I thought we deserved victory. In test matches like this you are in with a shout at the end and playing number one and number two in the world it comes down to small margins,” Nienaber said, via RugbyPass.
“I thought the effort the players put in, we put ourselves in a position to win this game. I am hurting inside because we could have pulled a result out today.
“We were in a position to pull a result out of this game but if you think back to the Lions, we won the series like New Zealand won today and like Australia won the first test in the 82nd minute kicking a goal and we did the same against the Lions.
“It’s probably swings and roundabouts, especially when two top teams are playing against each other. It goes down to the wire like it did tonight.”
🇿🇦 A much-improved performance by the Boks, but in the end the All Blacks have snatched a 19-17 victory in a humdinger in Townsville. #StrongerTogether #StrongerForever #NZLvRSA pic.twitter.com/qYUdFSJ2Lu
— Springboks (@Springboks) September 25, 2021
South Africa remain blunt in attack.
While the Springboks did much better in defence against the All Blacks than they did against the Wallabies a week ago, they still struggled to threaten their opposition with ball in hand.
South Africa did score one try in the end through winger Sbu Nkosi, but the opportunity came from New Zealand’s George Bridge failing to deal with a box kick from Faf de Klerk, and not from attacking backline play.
Nienaber’s side opted to kick the ball even when deep inside New Zealand’s territory, but All Blacks full back Jordie Barrett did very well in dealing with the consistent aerial bombardment.
The South Africans started their season excellently with a series win against the British and Irish Lions, but they have now lost three games in-a-row, and face another tough challenge against New Zealand next weekend.