Bok coach Nienaber responds to Dweba selection after All Black struggles: 'There's always a reason'

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  • Jacques Nienaber is taking heat for his decision to start Joseph Dweba at hooker ahead of Malcolm Marx.
  • The Springboks couldn't build on their Mbombela win, succumbing 35-23 to New Zealand at Ellis Park.
  • The All Blacks admitted they targeted Dweba, who was playing just his third Test.

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber is taking heat for his decision to start Joseph Dweba at hooker ahead of Malcolm Marx in Saturday's Rugby Championship loss to the All Blacks at Ellis Park.

Marx came off a sensational, man-of-the-match performance in Mbombela a week earlier but, once starter Bongi Mbonambi got injured in training, Dweba leapt into the starting XV ahead of Marx, who was on the bench.

The move backfired as Dweba's lineout was targeted by the All Blacks, with Sam Whitelock picking his first throw-in of the match within five minutes.

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It set a dominant tone that the Boks only recovered from later in the game. Dweba, meanwhile, was yanked after 30 minutes after not being effective in only his third Test.

"There's always a reason – a rugby reason why we did that, but that's privileged," said Nienaber.

"The players all know [the reason]. Every single player knows why we went that route and there's a very logical reason why we did that."

All Blacks coach Ian Foster was as blunt as can be when asked if they went after Dweba's lineout.

"Yep," he said, simply, in his last words of the post-match press conference as if dropping the mic after their stunning 35-23 victory.

Nienaber, addressing the Dweba early ejection indirectly, explained the early exits that were in place for the hooker (after 30 minutes) as well as Duane Vermeulen and Ox Nche before half-time.

"Like I've said before, players have a specific job to do and the moment they've done their job or they're not doing their job anymore, that's when we take them off," the Bok coach said.

"It's been discussed with the players. They know that's how it works. A classic example is Jasper Wiese in the Wales third Test. He had a specific job to do.

"The moment we see a drop in that, because we have six forwards on the bench, we will do the substitution. 

"And I think that's where we differ from other teams. We do things a little bit differently. 

"You have a specific job, you give everything for as long as you can and the moment you can't do that job anymore, then we take you off."

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