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Be Smart About South Africa

Kicking Woes A Major Headache For Bok Coach Nienaber

REUTERS/Lorraine O'sullivan

South Africa coach Jacques Nienaber says his side need to improve their accuracy from the kicking tee in what has become a handicap for the Springboks in the absence of injured flyhalf Handre Pollard.

The Boks started Saturday’s 19-16 autumn international defeat against Ireland in Dublin with Damian Willemse on kicking duties but ended it with Cheslin Kolbe taking on an unfamiliar role. Between them they missed out on seven points.

It was not the only cause for the Boks’ loss, there was also a lack of accuracy when in attacking positions that has plagued the team all year, but Nienaber admits it is a concern.

“Most people who look back on this game will probably say it (kicking) was the difference between the two sides. Johnny (Sexton) missed a kick or two too, but he nailed the big ones,” Nienaber told reporters.

“We missed a couple and that’s definitely something we’ll keep working on.

“We are always measuring the goalkicking and they (the players) measure it too. It is something we pay attention to in training.

“Cheslin hit the posts with his one kick. When you hit the posts, it is 50/50 whether it will bounce out or bounced in. But you can never blame the player for the misses, just as you don’t blame the hooker for missing lineout throws.”

It is unlikely the Boks will rope in uncapped flyhalf Manie Libbok for their clash against France this coming weekend but given much of their game-plan revolves around turning forward pressure into points off the tee, it is a major worry for Nienaber.

He was also quick to praise Ireland for the way they stood up to the Boks’ powerful pack of forwards.

“They fully deserved this victory,” he said. “They were the better team on the night. They took their chances, they blunted our rolling maul while theirs worked with the one opportunity they had.

“They used their opportunities every time and we didn’t, and that was why they won.”

Reuters

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