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Nienaber credits Scotland’s “quality” defence for restricting South Africa despite win

Nienaber credits Scotland’s “quality” defence for restricting South Africa despite win

South Africa head coach Jacques Nienaber praised Scotland’s “quality defence” for making things difficult for them after the Springboks ground out a 30-15 victory at BT Murrayfield.

Winger Makazole Mapimpi scored two tries, fly-halves Elton Jantjies and Handré Pollard kicked 17 points between them and a trademark monster Frans Steyn penalty helped the world champions get the better of Scotland in the Autumn Nations Series.

Skipper Stuart Hogg crossed twice for the hosts who were under the pump early on but managed to restrict South Africa from turning their dominance in possession and territory into points, going in at half-time 10-8 ahead.

Nienaber said: “I thought in the first half, especially the first 12 minutes, we applied a lot of pressure on Scotland but hats off to their defence.

“We know they’ve got the best defence in the northern hemisphere in the last two years, so we struggled to convert and that is probably down to their quality defence.”

Nienaber brought the Bomb Squad on early this week in the Autumn Nations Series, the replacement front row thrown on with the clock in the red at the end of the first half, and the Springbok physicality began to show in the second period.

After exerting dominance over the Wales scrum at the Principality Stadium last weekend, it was another area of strength for the visitors this week and Nienaber was pleased with the effort of all his front row forwards.

Speaking about the role of his front six, Nienaber explained: “We just spoke about it now in the changing room, we’ve said it before that we work in tandem in terms of our front row, we are fortunate to have two quality front rows.

“Hats off to the guys who started, they’ve got a specific role and a job to do. And then the guys coming on in the second half have to build on that. I thought that worked well for us today.”

Captain Siya Kolisi revealed his pride at his side’s ability to bring their physicality for the entirety of the encounter as they pulled away from Scotland in the last quarter of their penultimate fixture of the calendar year.

He said: “Before the game we said if we come together, physicality must not even be in the conversation, saying we need to get that better because I think that is our foundation as a team.

“I’m always proud of the boys and I thought the way we came out in the second half it was proper. And to do it for 80 minutes, it’s easy to do it for the first 20 minutes because everyone is emotional but to keep it for 80 minutes is what we pride ourselves upon.”

South Africa will head to Twickenham for their final Autumn Nations Series clash against England while Scotland will look to round off their campaign with a third win from four when they host Japan next week.

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