Nienaber adamant about focused Boks despite Jantjie’s drama: ‘Can’t waste energy on outside pressure’ | Sport

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Damian Willemse and Elton Jantjies. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)

  • Despite the Elton Jantjies saga engulfing them, the Springboks maintain that rugby and some rugby in their focus against Argentina this Saturday.
  • As the topic was a taboo on questions, coach Jacques Nienaber suggested that “external pressure”, such as speculation about Jantjies, is something the team rejects.
  • The Boks also hope that treating the Buenos Aires match as a semi-final or final will help keep their minds focused.

Despite an ongoing ban on Elton Jantjies-related interrogations, Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber echoed his colleague Deon Davids’ party line that the focus is exactly where it needs to be for Saturday’s Rugby Championship meeting with Argentina in Buenos Aires.

A sense of unease currently surrounds the team after the mercurial flyhalf was sent home along with dietician Zeenat Simjee following revelations of an alleged romantic affair between the two, raising a host of questions about the management’s code of conduct and ethos on internal affairs.

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SA Rugby previously stated that no team protocols had been violated in the Jantjies saga.

“I said before that there is a lot of pressure that every national team has to deal with. There are two kinds. One is external pressure. Can we control that? No. There is internal pressure, the type where we have certain standards of each of them. It’s about expectations. That’s the pressure we can control,” Nienaber said on Tuesday.

“Internal pressure is what we focus on. External pressure, be it injury or even speculation, is something that we have to put aside because we can’t control it. There’s no point in expending energy on it. We can’t change it. is what it is.”

READ | Boks tries to keep Argentina sharp amid Jantjies scandal: ‘Professional handling’

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Helping them in their mission to keep rugby ahead, the Boks view the match – along with next week’s re-match in Durban – as a play-off game to stay in the hunt for the Rugby Championship title.

“We treat the last two matches 100% as a semi-final or a final. If we want to be successful and claim this title, we have to treat it that way,” said Nienaber.

“Every test match for us is winning at all costs. Every team we select, even if we don’t always have continuity in the selection, is about winning. You represent your country.”

Springbok:

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Canan Moodie, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Franco Mostert, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lead de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff

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Substitutes: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Elrigh Louw, 20 Kwagga Smith, 21 Faf de Klerk, 22 Andre Esterhuizen, 23 Frans Steyn

While he made no mention of the empty Jantjies leaves in terms of depth in the flyhalf position, Nienaber reasonably pointed out that the Boks did well without him against Australia in Sydney when he was unavailable due to a hand injury.

Damian Willemse impressed as the pivot, while veteran Frans Steyn is also experienced in the position.

“Sometimes you face things like injuries, like the loss of Handre Pollard or what happened on the right wing. But it also allows you to test your depth. You get some experience in your squad,” said de Bok. -coach.

“We’re happy to keep Damian there with Frans covering.”

Kick-off is at 9:10 PM.