After agreeing to a contract ahead of the 2023–24 season, Jacques Nienaber talked about the reasons behind his decision to switch from the Springboks to Leinster.
Although some were taken aback by his decision to switch from international to provincial rugby, the South African saw it as a logical move.
Before being promoted after the 2019 Rugby World Cup, Nienaber was a member of the coaching staff throughout that competition.
He then led the Springboks to the World Cup victory in 2023, and he will now try to bring those experiences to Dublin.
“It was a challenge to enter a place where mediocrity is not tolerated,” Nienaber stated to the Leinster website.
“When you look at Leinster from the outside, the product they deliver on the pitch, it’s clear that it’s not a place for mediocracy. That’s the challenge that you want.
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 moving on to the Springboks when Erasmus was appointed director of rugby in South Africa, Nienaber has a deep understanding of Ireland.
We were candid and frank with one other and with ourselves about our stay in Ireland; it always helps to return home. Living in Ireland was truly enjoyable for us. Nienaber continued, “Life occurred, and we moved back.
It’s a great challenge with Leinster now that we’re back.
Many might wonder: “Why would someone quit international rugby to work at a club?” Leinster presents a significant task, though. Leinster has extremely high expectations.
“You certainly can’t turn to the squad and give any excuses, in terms of the players, the skill set, the athleticism we have to work with. The demands will be massive and that’s why it’s a nice challenge for me, personally.”