‘Springbok Showdown was worthwhile’

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber says Saturday’s Springbok Showdown will reap long-term benefits despite fans’ disappointment in the quality of the match.

Saturday, at Newlands, a Siya Kolisi-led Green team claimed a 25-9 victory over a Gold side under the captaincy of Lukhanyo Am.

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The match was just the second weekend of action for local players since they came out of a Covid-19-enforced lockdown implemented back in March.

Despite this, fans took to social media during and after the match to share their disappointment in the stop-start and error-filled quality of the contest.

However, Bok coach Nienaber said the exercise gave the country’s brightest prospects an opportunity to work with the coaches and would therefore reap future benefits for the side.

‘A number of players in this game came into the Springbok set-up as rookies earlier in their careers – guys such as Siya Kolisi, Frans Steyn and Elton Jantjies, to name a few – and they have mentioned the positive effect working with experienced players as youngsters had on their rugby careers,’ Nienaber said.

‘The young ones and new players in both camps brought a lot of energy and enthusiasm into the mix because they were super excited to be involved and to learn and absorb whatever was happening around them. So, from that point of view it was definitely a very worthwhile exercise.

‘Now they have a real taste of what the Bok environment looks and feels like. Although the match was not a spectacle, I think especially the young ones will look back with lots of good memories and we hope they return to their franchise teams eager to implement what they’ve learn.

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‘One of the other big benefits of the week was to see our current Springboks sharing their experience and knowledge of the successful World Cup campaign,’ Nienaber added.

‘Looking back at the game preparations and the match itself, I think we will definitely reap some rewards in the future.’

Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Gallo Images