The game against Tonga tested the Springboks physically, but Jacques Nienaber is proud of the way the team kept their rivals from the goal line on Sunday.
The Goats scored seven tries against Tonga’s three to record a final score of 49 – 18 in the Goats’ favour.
“As far as defense is concerned, I am very proud,” said the Bok knitter after the game. “The most important thing for us was to win the game, and then get the bonus points. We were able to get it right early in the second half, then we chased points as much as we could.”
He says the Springboks did well in terms of defence, against a team that is getting better as the World Cup progresses. “I think the guys did very well physically.”
Also for Siya Kolisi, who played his 50th game as Bok captain on Sunday, the physical aspect of the game was all he thought about.
“They were tough. We knew they were going to come at us hard and they never stopped. I want to congratulate our men for sticking to the plan so well. We got the bonus point and collected as many points as possible,” said Kolisi.
Regarding Makazole Mapimpi’s cheek injury, Nienaber said the winger will go for scans on Monday to determine the severity of the injury.
The Boks will only know after the match between Ireland and Scotland on Saturday whether they will make it to the quarter-finals. The Springboks are currently first in group B, with 15 points.
“As things stand now, South Africa, Ireland or Scotland will drop out. But all three still stand a chance,” said Nienaber. Should South Africa progress to the next round, they will play again on the weekend of the 14th and 15th of October.
“These are not unknown waters for us. In 2019 it was a similar situation, when we had a two-week break between matches. We will give the players two or three days away from the field, so that they can also rest psychologically. Then we will start working on the things we can improve on to ensure we stay in the competition until the end.”