Super Rugby

Springbok coach-to-be pays Stormers a visit

Cape Town - Springbok defence guru Jacques Nienaber paid the Stormers a visit as they prepare for the 2020 Super Rugby competition.

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Nienaber spent time with the Cape franchise at their High Performance Centre in Bellville on Tuesday, with Stormers defence coach Norman Laker telling Netwerk24 that it was nice to have him in the camp.

"I've been working with Jacques since 2007 when I started at the WP Rugby Institute. We try to keep a close working relationship. I also have my own ideas because Super Rugby is a bit different than Test rugby," Laker said.

The defensive system that Nienaber has employed at the Springboks is characterised by a rush defence towards the inside channels in an attempt to clamp down the opposition playmakers.

It often leaves space out wide, but with the Boks only conceding four tries at the World Cup, its effectiveness can hardly be questioned.

"That's the tough thing for the opponents... because it looks like there's space (out wide) and yet few teams can exploit it. It's something the Boks were phenomenal at - 'selling' space that's actually not there," Laker stressed.

Nienaber, meanwhile, is widely tipped to replace Rassie Erasmus as Springbok head coach, with confirmation of his appointment expected "soon".

Erasmus stepped down as national coach after South Africa's Rugby World Cup triumph to focus instead on his director of rugby position.

Erasmus and Nienaber have a long history, having first met in the army before crossing paths at the University of the Free State's Shimlas team where Nienaber was the physiotherapist and Erasmus the captain.

When Erasmus became coach of the Free State Cheetahs, he appointed Nienaber as strength and conditioning coach, with the latter later shifting his focus to the team's defensive structures.

Nienaber followed Erasmus to the Stormers and also to Munster in Ireland, before starting at the Springboks in 2018.

- Compiled by Herman Mostert