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VIDEO: 'I can't be Jacques'

SPOTLIGHT: Jerry Flannery says he will be a “poor imitation” if he tries to copy Jacques Nienaber’s style of coaching.

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Instead, the former Ireland hooker wants to build on the strong defensive foundations that Nienaber has formed with the Springboks over the years.

Nienaber left his head coach role with the Boks after last year’s World Cup for a stint with Irish side Leinster.

Rassie Erasmus brought in Flannery to oversee South Africa’s defence and the Irishman admits that he has some big shoes to fill in the squad.

However, Flannery won’t be totally out of his comfort zone as he has worked with Erasmus and Nienaber when they were part of Munster’s coaching between 2016 and 2017.

Flannery also spent some time with the Bok coaches ahead of last year’s World Cup.

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“There is no pressure,” was Flannery’s joking response when he was asked if Nienaber was a tough act to follow.

He added: “When I was at Munster and Jacques and Rassie came in, I found Jacques to be an incredible coach and I definitely took a lot from that [work ethic] and I know Felix [Jones] did as well.

“I think I am very fortunate and the Springboks are very fortunate with the foundations that Jacques has put in there.

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“Anything positive that goes on from here is going to be built on those foundations.

“Anything that goes wrong is all on me and I am very much aware of that.”

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Flannery is confident he can bring something different and equally as effective.

“I am going to try and build on what the Springboks have there and add to it and I am very fortunate with what Jacques has put in.

“It’s an environment where everyone takes ownership, it’s never just left to one person.

“That’s the best thing about rugby. It’s the teamwork, everyone working together to achieve the goals.

“I will be trying to add to that because I can’t be Jacques.

“I can’t be him. If I try to be, I would be a poor imitation of him, but I can be Jerry and I can bring what I bring to the table.”

@rugby365com

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