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OPINION: Nienaber’s tinkering is detrimental to Springbok team

With the Rugby World Cup less than a year-and-a-half out, the Springboks are building towards the 2023 showpiece event in France.

In their five games so far in the current international season, the Boks have yet to name an unchanged starting 15, with a raft of changes having been made during the Welsh incoming series and two Rugby Championship games against the All Blacks.

However, the constant tinkering with the team by coach Jacques Nienaber and his management group looks to be having a detrimental effect and could have a damaging impact on the side heading towards next year’s World Cup.

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Giving fringe players game time and testing out a few combinations is understandable in certain games, usually against weaker teams, like the second Test team against Wales, but a core starting side should be backed in most games.

A lot has been said about the decision not to start Malcolm Marx in the second Test against the All Blacks after his box office man-of-the-match display in the first Test.

Marx is arguably the best hooker in the world right now, and there were already questions about Bongi Mbonambi starting ahead of him, but the decision to start Joseph Dweba after Mbonambi picked up an injury then backfired spectacularly on the coaching staff as he was hauled off after just 29 minutes.

Revolving front row

The revolving front ranker door in general must be a pain for players as every single match there is a change in the front row, with props constantly rotating in and out of the match 23.

Surely the team management must have an idea of who their best starting and bench combinations are and back them for the majority of games?

The backline has also become a bit of a mess this season, with the management’s over-reliance on utility players becoming a hindrance, due to a number of injuries suffered early in the game.

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In the last three matches early injury replacements have put a massive strain on the Bok bench, due to management going with the six-two split of forwards to backs.

Strangely, in two of those games it triggered a host of changes in the backline, with fullback moving to flyhalf, flyhalf to centre, centre to wing, instead of just making one change.

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