Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber produced precisely zero surprises when naming his last team of the year to face England at Twickenham on Saturday.
When the final chapter of the Jacques Nienaber/Rassie Erasmus era of Springbok rugby is written, which hopefully is still a long way off, it will reflect that this was a period where transparency was fundamental.
On Tuesday, Nienaber named his team to face England for the Boks’ 13th and final Test of a taxing, Covid-impacted season. And there were precisely no surprises in the names he revealed because this Bok squad does not play subtle mind games.
Nienaber is not shy to say: “These are the best 23 we have this week, this is how we play, so come and beat us.” From early team announcements to virtually handing the opposition their game plan, the Boks simply aren’t into wasting energy on trying to score mental points with silly mind games. They only display supreme self-confidence.
Frankly, their unprecedented openness and lack of ego, has been their biggest strength. The message they send to opponents by playing open cards on selection and tactics is that they are confident in their own ability and plans.
And the consequence…