There is just one. Vermeulen, Duane… An all-time great Springbok ends his playing career

James Downey expects Jacques Nienaber to place a huge emphasis on defence as he takes over as Leinster coach.

Nienaber, who recently led the Springboks to their second consecutive World Cup, will soon join Leinster.

Leinster’s URC season has started mediocrely without the services of their World Cup stars. They lost to Glasgow in their opening game before winning high-scoring matches against the Sharks and Edinburgh.

Although the province has performed well recently in the URC—winning three of the last four renewals—they have struggled in Europe.

Two narrow European Cup final defeats in a row against Ronan O’Gara’s La Rochelle has un-done much of their good work throughout the last few years and, with Nienaber’s arrival, and his track record, Leinster fans will be hoping he can turn the fine margins in their favour.

Former Leinster and Munster player James Downey believes that Nienaber’s first move will be to concentrate on Leinster’s defense, as he stated in an interview with House of Rugby this week.

Downey asserts, “Defense wins championships.”

“Even with the greatest offensive in the world, it is invaluable to be able to keep a team out.

“And since Jacques arrived, if you consider the first-week match against Glasgow, Leinster’s defense was again quite weak against Edinburgh; they were fine for the majority of the match, but after a few substitutions, Edinburgh got back into the game.”

“Jacques won’t have that. Defence is an attitude so he’s going to be working on the player’s mindsets, being ruthless out there, not letting teams get over for easy scores.”

With just eight tries allowed throughout the Paris World Cup, Nienaber’s Springboks more than lived up to their motto.

“Win by 40 points, that’ what he’s going to want,” Downey says.

And that will only strengthen this Leinster squad. They were down by one score going into these crucial game matchups, but he’ll make things right.

Former backrow player Sean O’Brien is in control in the meantime while they wait for Nienaber to arrive, and the Tullow man is certain that this is his way and not the Springboks’ way for the time being.

Sean O'Brien

“We are definitely not defending like the Springboks do,” O’Brien said this week.

“That’s been made clear to the lads, I’ve spelt that out.

Leinster continue their URC campaign this weekend with an away trip to take on the Dragons.

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