Nienaber’s box has ‘work to do’ for Rugby World Cup after losing to France | Sport

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Springbok captain Siya Kolisi and coach Jacques Nienaber.

Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber said on Saturday that his side “has work to do” to challenge host nation France at next year’s Rugby World Cup after losing 30-26 to Les Bleus in Marseille.

The Springboks played for over an hour at the Stade Velodrome with 14 men after the red card from Pieter-Steph du Toit before captain Antoine Dupont was also sent off for the home side.

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Nienaber’s team was narrowly beaten by Ireland last weekend and will meet them again in Group B of the World Cup in 10 months.

“We are four points behind France, which is the second best team in the world and three points behind Ireland, which is the best team in the world,” Nienaber told reporters.

“That’s where we are.

“We will have to work extremely hard because we are playing against Ireland in our group and there is an opportunity to play France or New Zealand in the quarter-finals, so there is a lot of hard work ahead of us,” he added.

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Les Bleus, last season’s Six Nations champion, will host the global tournament next year and is on an unbeaten run of 12 matches.

“I think they’re almost favorites,” Nienaber said.

“There is currently no team in world rugby that is on that line.

“They should be, with Ireland one of the favourites,” he added.

Earlier on Saturday, Italy, ranked 13th in the world, stunned Australia with an impressive win with the Boks heading to Genoa next weekend.

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“As you can see today from the result that Italy has achieved, there is a lot of competition,” said Nienaber.

“I don’t think there are big gaps in the top 10 teams in the world.

“If you get your stuff wrong, you can lose to any of those top 10 teams,” he added.