Springbok changes for Bloem? Coach Nienaber keeps cards close

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Jacques Nienaber. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)
Jacques Nienaber. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)
  • Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber didn't hint at many changes for the second Test between the Springboks and Wales in Bloemfontein.
  • The Boks fought back from 18-3 down to win 32-29 to keep their unbeaten home record against Wales intact.
  • Nienaber hopes they can take their second-half performance - where they scored 28 points - and run with it for the rest of the series.  

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber says he will need to consider "injuries and performance" before implementing any changes for Saturday's second Test against Wales in Bloemfontein.

The Springboks had to come back from 18-3 down to beat Wales 32-29 in the first Test at a packed Loftus Versfeld on Saturday to avoid a first-ever home defeat to the Welsh.

They seem to have come out of the clash with everybody fit, but there was a huge performance question mark hanging over flyhalf Elton Jantjies, and now many are calling for the return of regular No 10 Handre Pollard for the second Test. 

READ | Wales show heart but Willemse brings character as dastardly Boks do them in again

With Jantjies off the field in the second half, the Springboks turned it around.

Nienaber, though, said he would consider all factors before naming his side on Tuesday.

"We've got a plan, but we'll obviously have to look at injuries and performances. The second-half is pretty much the performance we're looking for," Nienaber said.

"Things didn't go our way and we didn't start well. I thought we started with intensity and a good attitude, but our execution let us down.

"We really do need to improve from an execution perspective, but it was always going to be off as we got some guys back only at the start of our Test week.

"We tried to pick a balance between the guys we worked with for three weeks and those who just recently arrived at the camp."

Nienaber praised his charges for keeping calm despite their costly first-half errors that allowed Wales to run up a sizeable lead without getting into the Bok 22.

ALSO READ | Bok ratings: Willemse, Willie shine as attacking masters - old and new - compensate for stalwarts

Both of Wales' first-half tries originated from lineout errors, with Nienaber hoping his charges will be more accurate at the Free State Stadium on Saturday.

"The one thing the guys did was to stay calm and they never gave up. To score 28 points in the second half was special and I'd much rather focus on that," Nienaber said.

"Wales had two try-scoring chances and they scored both. In the second half, they had an opportunity to score with the maul and they did so," Nienaber said.

"They capitalised on their chances well and only missed that one opportunity."

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