Jacques Nienaber proud of Springboks defence ahead of Ireland clash in Paris
South Africa's defence will be one of the key challenges Ireland will need to overcome in Saturday's blockbuster Rugby World Cup pool stage clash, with Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber highlighting the pride they take in their defensive structure.
South Africa have a potent attack with powerful forwards and dazzling backs, but it is their defence that could be decisive in their bid to retain the World Cup having conceded two tries in their last eight games at the tournament.
Since being breached twice in their opening loss to New Zealand in Yokohama in 2019, only Canada in the pool stages of that tournament and Wales in the semi-finals have managed to cross their tryline.
That is a remarkable average of more than five hours of World Cup rugby per try conceded on their current run, which includes shut outs against Namibia, Italy, Japan, England, Scotland and Romania. Their points aggregate across those eight games is 343 scored and 47 conceded.
World number one Ireland will aim to provide a stern test of that defensive organisation when the teams meet in Paris on Saturday, but Nienaber has said it is challenge he relishes.
He was defence coach when the Springboks lifted the World Cup four years ago and has carried that theme forward in his tenure as the head of the technical team.
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"This team has always prides themselves on their defence, so I am extremely happy," he said in the wake of the 76-0 victory over Romania on Sunday.
"We gave Romania a lot of attention from