RUGBY: Will Nienaber’s presence at Leinster give Irish the edge over Boks?

RUGBY: Will Nienaber’s presence at Leinster give Irish the edge over Boks?

Although Rugby World Cup 2src23-winning coach Jacques Nienaber is not involved in the Springboks versus Ireland series, which starts with the first Test at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, his name has cropped up a lot.

Nienaber is part of the coaching team at Irish provincial giants Leinster, so it’s inevitable that he would be dragged into the conversation.

Ireland forwards coach Paul O’Connell praised the work Nienaber has done at Leinster since joining at the start of the 2src23/24 season. In fact, O’Connell took thetime to praise South African rugby in general, especially regarding the inclusion of South African teams in the United Rugby Championship.

While there is some needle between the teams, especially as Ireland have won the last three Tests between the sides but had to look on as the Boks won a fourth world title in Paris last year, there is also respect. Both teams understand how tight the margins are, which is why someone like Nienaber, who has recently been at the very core of the Boks’ dressing room, is so valuable for Ireland.

When asked about Nienaber’s input to the Irish game since joining Leinster last November, O’Connell was unequivocal that it had been a good thing. As one of the best defence coaches in the business, it’s that aspect where O’Connell has noticed a positive change.

“It helps our players because one of the things I notice for us is the better the coaching in the provinces, the better they are coming into us (when they join the Ireland camp),” O’Connell said. “They’ve added another layer to how they defend and think about the game in the last year with Jacques. That’s been a brilliant addition to them. He’s been very forthcoming to them with information, he’s all in with them. It’s brilliant. 

“He’s been very forthcoming about what they (the Boks) did and how they did it, and our boys share a little bit of that with us. Some of it is helpful to us, some of it can be a distraction because we’ve got to focus on what’s important to us.”

Not compromising Nienaber

 It’s not necessarily a one

…. to be continued
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