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Nienaber defends Springboks' approach after third straight loss

South Africa coach Jacques Nienaber defended his team's approach to their meeting with New Zealand on Saturday after seeing the Springboks slip to a third consecutive loss in the Rugby Championship with a 19-17 defeat at the hands of All Blacks.

The result, which came courtesy of a late Jordie Barrett penalty, followed on the heels of back-to-back reversals against Australia but the narrow nature of the loss left Nienaber feeling vindicated.

"I thought the game plan worked," he said. "I thought we had opportunities, I thought they had opportunities.

"It probably came down to the wire. A call here, a bounce of the ball there. Sometimes it goes for you and sometimes it goes against you.

"(Against the) British and Irish Lions we won with a kick like this, Australia we lost, New Zealand we lost with a kick like this, so I think it's swings and roundabouts."

The Springboks went into the game needing a bonus point win to keep their slim hopes of claiming The Rugby Championship alive against a team they had not faced since the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Both teams scored early tries, with Barrett slotting over what turned out to be a crucial conversion after Will Jordan crossed the line two minutes into the game.

S'busiso Nkosi's try for the Springboks went unconverted, leaving Handre Pollard and Barrett to trade penalties throughout the rest of the game until the All Blacks emerged as narrow winners.

"It was a proper test match, in terms of when No 1 and 2 in the world play against each other," said Nienaber.

"There are small margins, obviously we have our DNA, they have their DNA and that's the thing.

"Rugby will be unbelievably boring if everybody plays the same tactics and we might not do the same tactics next week, like they might not do the same tactics."

The world champions conceded 16 penalties with Nkosi receiving a yellow card six minutes from the end of the first half, leaving Nienaber concerned.

"Obviously we will have to look at our discipline," he said. "We conceded I think double the amount of offside penalties currently in this competition and we will have to have look at that.

"Discipline is something we will have to have a look at."

(Reporting by Michael Church; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Source: Reuters

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