Jacques Nienaber has hinted that Rassie Erasmus’ social media rant has allowed South Africa to focus on putting the British and Irish Lions series out of the spotlight.
The Springboks beat Lions 27-9 in Cape Town to level the streak with one win apiece and take a crucial third test next Saturday.
The hosts won the second half 21-0 to stun the Warren Gatland Lions, with Makazole Mapimpi and Lukhanyo Am calling for well-done attempts.
Rugby director Erasmus’ 62-minute online rant against the reigning 22-17 test win of the Lions dominated preparation for Saturday’s second encounter.
And head coach Nienaber suggested the Springboks could focus on supporting their approach before a convincing second test win over the tourists.
“Rassie as our rugby director had something in mind, something we discussed,” said Nienaber. “This is off-field stuff and we knew we had to focus on rugby.
“So hats off to the players. We had a look back, a tough week because of it, we were tough together. It’s not just players but also coaches, sometimes we do something wrong.
“But we put our hands up and say, ‘Listen, I made a mistake there’. We just focus on rugby and the things we can control. We basically got that.
“The other stuff is off the field and was handled by our rugby director, and our stuff was on the field.”
Boks winger Cheslin Kolbe was lucky enough to escape with a yellow card for defeating Conor Murray in the air.
But Nienaber insisted that the officers had made the right decision not to send the Toulouse runabout.
“I thought it was the right call you made,” said Nienaber. “There is a clear process that they follow when they commit a foul.
“It would take five minutes to sit here and go through this in detail, but there is a clear process that you have to go through and I thought it would be followed to the ‘T’.”
Flanker Pieter-Steph Du Toit suffered a shoulder injury and is likely to miss the third test.
“Obviously Pieter-Steph is a guy who doesn’t do normally in a game,” said Nienaber. “But the medical team has not yet checked his shoulder; It will take 48 hours to get a proper diagnosis with any special tests. But he’s usually not the type to do well in a game. “
The Lions took the lead 9-6 at halftime, but were systematically picked up by the Boks after the break, with the hosts gaining almost complete standard dominance at the end of the competition.
Lood De Jager’s introduction to the back row allowed the Springboks to correct their line-up deficiencies, and the front row substitutes gripped control of the scrum.
The Lions had few answers and let the entire series depend on the third and final test.
Siya Kolisi had admitted she felt disrespect in referee Nic Berry’s first test, adding to tensions after the unprecedented online talk by Erasmus.
And the back rower admitted after his team’s second test victory that he had endured his toughest week as the Springboks captain.
“This is the toughest week I’ve ever experienced as a manager,” said Kolisi. “But I could just concentrate on the game. We knew what we had to do, we had the same pressure as at the World Cup, but a little more because we only play the Lions every 12 years.
“As a team we are returning to what we know, the system, the structures. So now it’s off for next week. “
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