‘No place for mediocracy’ – Jacques Nienaber reveals reasons for Springboks departure

Jacques Nienaber has discussed why he swapped the Springboks for Leinster after signing a deal ahead of the 2023/24 season.

Some were taken aback by his decision to switch from international to provincial rugby, but the South African saw right through it.

Prior to being promoted after the 2019 Rugby World Cup, Nienaber was a member of the coaching staff.

He then led the Springboks to the World Cup victory in 2023, and he will now want to bring those memories to Dublin.

Massive challenge

“That was part of the challenge, to come into an environment where there’s no place for mediocracy,” Nienaber told the Leinster website.

It’s obvious that Leinster is not a place for mediocrity based on their performance on the field and how they present themselves to the outside world. You want to take on that challenge.

Not that I had any of that in South Africa, but we moved as a family for a change of pace, to bring our family over here, and for some more private reasons.

“From a professional standpoint, the task is really difficult. You’ll undoubtedly be kept on your toes by the demands made by the coaches and the players, who are elite international players with numerous awards.

Having played for Munster under Rassie Erasmus for a season before switching to the Springboks when Erasmus became South Africa, Nienaber has a good understanding of Ireland.

No excuses

“Returning home usually helps. My family and I were candid about our experience in Ireland. We had a great time living in Ireland. We moved back because life occurred,” Nienaber continued.

We’re back, and Leinster presents a good test.

Many might wonder, “Why leave international rugby to work at a club? However, the task at hand with Leinster is enormous. At Leinster, there are extremely high expectations.

“You cannot point the finger at the team and offer any justifications regarding the players, their skill level, or the level of athleticism we possess.” I personally find it to be a nice challenge because of the enormous demands.

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