The message on the Leinster wall Nienaber has already taken to heart

Jacques Nienaber has dived straight into work at Leinster and already put his hand up to take the blame for two of the three tries the Irish province conceded in their hard-fought URC derby win at Connacht last Saturday.

The former head coach of the Springboks took off for Dublin last week to start a new position under Leo Cullen as senior coach. He had agreed to take on this position in April, just before his 2023 international season began with South Africa and ended in October with a victory over the All Blacks in the Rugby World Cup final in Paris.

Ciaran Frawley’s score in the 81st minute saved Leinster from loss and gave them a 24-22 victory in Galway. Nienaber has already held his first media conference ahead of the Champions Cup trip to La Rochelle on Sunday. He has explained that he cannot just copy and paste the defensive scheme that has been effectively used by

He accepted credit for two of the Connacht tries that David Hawkshaw and Diarmuid Kilgallen scored in South Africa.

“I can definitely adapt to Leinster,” declared the coach, who had previously served as Munster’s defense coach in Ireland from June 2016 until November 2017, when he and Rassie Erasmus went to South Africa to try to revitalize the Springboks.

“I don’t think you can copy and paste any tackle-defense system from one team to another because the athleticism and skill set that each member of your squad brings to the table creates the system,”

have available within your squad and obviously the skill set and athleticism that South Africa has versus what Leinster have differs.


You have a basic, broad idea of how you want to go about things, but you also need to be flexible enough to change and grow with the team you work with. Right now, I’m attempting to ascertain what athleticism and skill set the group possesses and how we might apply it to a system I have in mind.

“One must be extremely careful of (not) just going, ‘This is how we are going to do it,’ because if you just copy and paste, you might end up putting certain players in a box when they have a specific skill set and now you put them in a box and they can’t utilise that skill set in a game.”

“Where it will probably be frustrating for the fans, for the players and for us (as coaches) is evolution comes with sometimes success and sometimes with failure and that’s how you evolve and that’s how you learn what the group will be able to do.

“In this setting, I really read it on the wall. It was once noted that “evolution sometimes comes with failure,” and that’s where we are at the moment. From a defensive perspective, we failed in two situations last weekend, and I was most likely responsible for both outcomes.

“It will take them some time to get used to it and it will take me time to get used to them. The first and last try was definitely caused by them [the Leinster players] trying to adapt to a new system and a new way of doing things.” Thus, no, copying and pasting will not be an option. You’ll need to change as the team does.

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