British & Irish Lions

Bok coach Jacques Nienaber turns to rookie Jasper Wiese: 'I left Kwagga out to dry'

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Jasper Wiese. (David Rogers/Getty Images)
Jasper Wiese. (David Rogers/Getty Images)
  • Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber is expecting rookie number eight Jasper Wiese to bring the fireworks that made him an exciting player at the Leicester Tigers.
  • Wiese will be starting ahead of Kwagga Smith, who was relegated to the bench for Saturday's second Test against the British and Irish Lions at the Cape Town Stadium.
  • Nienaber admitted it was tough adapting to life without Duane Vermeulen.

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber is expecting rookie number eight Jasper Wiese to reprise his Leicester Tigers form when he starts for the national team on Saturday against the British and Irish Lions.

Wiese, who quietly made his name with the Cheetahs before blockbusting in the Premiership, will be starting in his second Test after making his debut against Georgia earlier this month.

He'll be up against Leinsterman Jack Conan, who was impressive in the British and Irish Lions' first Test win against the Springboks at Cape Town Stadium.

Nienaber said they were looking forward to seeing what Wiese can bring.

"The reason why we started looking at Jasper was that he was doing well in the Premiership and when you look at how dominant were his stats and his carries," Nienaber said.

"We want to see whatever Jasper did that got him into the squad and I'm sure he'll give that to us."

Replacing the injured Duane Vermeulen has proven to be a headache for Nienaber, who took responsibility for Kwagga Smith's inability to deal with the high ball.

Smith, who was competent in other facets of his play, was caught short when Dan Biggar and Ali Price bombarded him with high balls.

Their tactic of putting him under pressure played a massive role in the second half momentum swing that allowed the visitors to claw back from a 12-3 deficit to win 22-17.

Nienaber acknowledged that they missed Vermeulen and with the number eight running water for the Bulls in the Currie Cup, there's every chance that he may not appear in the Test series.

"You don't get man of the match in a big game like a World Cup and you're not a quality player. He's a quality player, but so is Kwagga," Nienaber said.

"He was good on the weekend and I think tactically, I wasn't that sharp in terms of protecting him with the high balls. I should have done better there as a coach.

"We've spoken about it and we'll definitely see how we can change a couple of things in terms of that. I may have hung him out to dry there.

With Retshegofaditswe "Ox" Nche out injured, Nienaber reverted to Steven Kitshoff to start at loosehead prop with Frans Malherbe at tighthead.

His choice of cover on the bench in Trevor Nyakane and Vincent Koch was initially confusing, but he made it clear who was going to play where.

"Trevor will cover loosehead for us, but we can also use him as a tight-head and with Vincent, he can also scrum on both sides," Nienaber said.

Teams:

South Africa

15 Willie Le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff

Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Kwagga Smith, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Damian Willemse

British and Irish Lions:

15 Stuart Hogg (Scotland), 14 Anthony Watson (England), 13 Chris Harris (Scotland), 12 Robbie Henshaw (Ireland), 11 Duhan van der Merwe (Scotland), 10 Dan Biggar (Wales), 9 Conor Murray (Ireland) 8 Jack Conan (Ireland), 7 Tom Curry (England), 6 Courtney Lawes (England), 5 Alun Wyn Jones (captain, Wales), 4 Maro Itoje (England), 3 Tadhg Furlong (Ireland), 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie (England), 1 Mako Vunipola (England)

Substitutes: 16 Ken Owens (Wales), 17 Rory Sutherland (Scotland) 18 Kyle Sinckler (England), 19 Tadhg Beirne (Ireland), 20 Taulupe Faletau (Wales), 21 Ali Price (Scotland), 22 Owen Farrell (England), 23 Elliot Daly (England)

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