From the moment he joined the team, Leinster flanker Scott Penny has been pleased by coach Jacques Nienaber.
Following the Springboks’ victory in the Rugby World Cup in France, the 51-year-old made his way to the Irish province earlier this week.
The Dubliners, who have had difficulty winning important games, will be hoping that Nienaber can bring those abilities to the team.
The challenges of Europe
Their most recent trophy was won in 2021, and they have only won one Champions Cup (in 2018) since 2012.
This incredibly strong Leinster side is looking to break their recent European hoodoo, and both that winning mindset and his technical defense prowess may prove to be essential.
Penny remarked, “He arrived, introduced himself, and struck up conversations with a number of people.”
“Everyone finds it to be really excellent. For his first time out on the field, you could already see he was leaving his imprint.
“It’s clear that he had some success with South Africa, and they are a team that puts a lot of pressure on mistakes.”
“Hopefully we can learn a bit of stuff from him with regards to defensive breakdowns but also learning how they have made their defence so good over the last few years.”
What he brings from South Africa
Despite being the clear favorites in recent years, Leinster hasn’t been able to win the Champions Cup for any reason—be it mental or mechanical.
In contrast, South Africa has proven to be able to complete the task at hand. They are successful in the 2023 World Cup after winning their three knockout games by a combined total of one point.
Penny believes that Nienaber can contribute some of the fundamental skills that the Springboks are known for, particularly in breakdown, defense, and set-piece.
He went on, “They are clearly big demons of men, and you can see that physicality helps them in their defense.”
“Obviously, having size helps with their line speed and how impressive they are in the contact and at the breakdown – it makes them a real force to be reckoned with.
“Our defensive breakdown has been pretty good, we have had a fair few turnovers and been slowing things down. That is probably the main area that we put a lot of focus on so it is great to have Jacques in to help with that.”