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Boks' risky bench split: Why Nienaber may hold his nerve

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Jacques Nienaber. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)
Jacques Nienaber. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)

The perils associated with the Springboks' current favouring of a 6-2 split between forwards and backs among the substitutes were starkly highlighted at Nelspruit on Saturday.

That the Boks nevertheless put the tottering All Blacks firmly to the sword in the Rugby Championship encounter - 26-10, their best post-isolation win margin against them - may only make mastermind Jacques Nienaber determined to follow the same policy course in the swift follow-up encounter against the same foes at Ellis Park.

The head coach is entitled to reason, after all, that it doesn't happen every day that you lose a key figure like a scrumhalf (in this case Faf de Klerk) to a head injury within the opening minute of a Test ... suddenly leaving your remaining back-division bench options still on the splinters at a dangerously miserly one.

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