How the new England boss made Wiese a Bok
INTERVIEW: Jasper Wiese epitomises the impact new England coach Steve Borthwick can have on individual players, helping the No.8 into one of the most effective forwards in Europe.
Wiese describes Borthwick as like a computer with the amount of work he puts in giving his players every possible advantage and turning the No.8 from someone who kept on collecting yellow and red cards into a Springbok regular.
This was confirmed as Wiese made 22 carries in Saturday’s 23-16 win over Clermont Auvergne, the most by any player in the Champions Cup in what was Borthwick and defence coach Kevin Sinfield’s last game before they moved to their England roles.
Wiese beat 10 defenders, the most by any forward in a single game in the competition since Opta recorded this data – since 2009/10.
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“Steve has been amazing and his commitment to the club has been phenomenal and he is a fantastic coach and I cannot say a bad word about him,” Wiese said.
“He is programmed like a computer and went back three or four years to analyse teams and their trends. He watches every maul and every ruck to see what they are doing and what they are all about.
“When I first arrived here they told me not to worry too much about the detail and to play the game I play. The belief they had in me I hadn’t experienced in the past.
“Also the way they helped me with the discipline during a bad period when everyone was saying ‘get him off the pitch because he is a running red card’ to now when, hopefully, people can see I have got better.
“That is them [the coaches)] pushing me to be better and all that has happened to me in recent years – I cannot take credit for it.
“Steve and Aled [Walters, Tigers’ Head of Performance] really hammered me for the mistakes I made and the cards I got and the Springbok coaches also told me it was something I had to work on to be in contention. I can’t be more thankful to all of the coaches because they gave me a wake up call.
“When I came to Leicester I didn’t think too much about the Boks but it has been a dream and I knew it is not in your favour to leave South Africa.
“I just tried to make the best impact at Tigers. Kevin [Sinfield] – his deeds speak for themselves and you just want to give everything for them.”