Jacques Nienaber struck a defiant observe after Saturday’s nerve-jangling 13-8 defeat to Eire, claiming the defending champions can nonetheless win the World Cup.
South Africa misplaced their opening pool match to New Zealand in 2019 earlier than occurring to carry the Webb Ellis trophy and Nienaber believes the Boks can do it once more.
“In 2019 did you assume we may win?” he mentioned on the post-match press convention on the Stade de France, when the query was posed to him.
“We’re on this competitors to win, everyone seems to be right here to win. We performed in opposition to the primary group on this planet and we misplaced by 5 factors.
“We had an opportunity in 79th minute to win however we didn’t take it. The underside line is Eire had been higher however the margin may be very small.
“We should work at issues that didn’t work and if we will repair them and have a little bit of luck we will win the World Cup.”
The match, which noticed tries from Mack Hansen for Eire and Cheslin Kolbe for South Africa, arguably hinged on the shortage of a dependable goalkicker within the Springbok ranks.
Flyhalf Manie Libbok kicked a primary half penalty however missed a penalty and conversion within the second half. Faf de Klerk additionally failed with two penalties, considered one of which hit the publish.
Springbok captain Siya Kolisi was equally adamant that the wayward kicking wasn’t the deciding consider such a good sport.
“We didn’t lose the sport in a single division,” he mentioned.
“We gave away 12 penalties, typically on the breakdown. We created such good alternatives and we acquired to the 22 and we didn’t take them.
“In a sport like this that’s what occurs. Some issues went properly. The depth of the sport was precisely what we would have liked.
“Eire had been faster than us and capable of get these alternatives.”
Whereas victory all however assured Eire of their passage into the quarter-finals, South Africa should now beat Tonga of their closing pool sport subsequent weekend to make sure a possible last-eight assembly with hosts France.
“Whoever received this sport, it will take a little bit of strain off the final spherical,” mentioned Nienaber.
“That’s now on us. We have to beat Tonga to get out of the pool, that’s the only factor to concentrate on.
“We have now an eight-day turnaround. If we slip up in opposition to Tonga we received’t even get to a quarter-final.
“If we begin fascinated about France now we will probably be getting forward of ourselves.”
© Agence France-Presse
Picture: JULIEN DE ROSA / AFP