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Nienaber shares Boks' play-off 'secret'

SPOTLIGHT: Jacques Nienaber has provided some insight into the Springboks’ play-off formula as he aims to help Leinster progress further in this season’s Champions Cup.


The Irish province will continue their rivalry with French giants Stade Rochelais in one of this weekend’s quarterfinals.

The defending champions Stade Rochelais has beaten Leinster in the last two Finals of the Champions Cup. However, the Irish side managed to record a 16-9 win over Ronan O’Gara’s side in this season’s pool stage in France.

Former Bok head coach Nienaber has plenty of experience dealing with play-off matches with two World Cup victories behind his name.

In last year’s event in France, the Springboks won their quarterfinal, semifinal and Final with a one-point margin.

The question is whether Nienaber can apply that formula that helped the Boks last year to Leinster as they aim to add a fifth star to their jersey this season.


“I would say the secret of any knockout game is you’ve got to be accurate in what you do, it’s accuracy that gets you across the line,” Nienaber told the Irish Times.

“You’ve got to have intent, you’ve got to have energy and you need to be physical, and you need to be aligned and accurate in your plan.

“So, if you look at it individually, you have to be physical, you have to have a work ethic, you have to make sure on the day that the individual brings that to that party.

“Then from a team perspective, you have to make sure that you’re aligned, we’ve got to know what we’ve got to do in attack and defence and then on the day you have to be accurate.


“And then sometimes when both teams bring that and there’s parity, and they bring intensity and physicality, we have a plan, they have a good plan, they execute their plan and we execute our plan, then,” he said, both pausing and smiling, “you need a little bit of luck sometimes.”

Despite a 36-22 win over Leicester in the Round of 16, Leinster were not at their best and Nienaber believes the quarterfinal will have a “completely different” mindset.

“There wasn’t that much pressure on them [Leicester] to pull off a result,” said Nienaber. “I’m not talking down on them. There was an expectancy pressure on us, definitely, and sometimes that is refreshing.

“Going into the 2019 World Cup Final, South Africa had no expectancy pressure. That’s beautiful.

“England had all of that so that is a kind of freedom, you can express yourself.

“This weekend there will be expectancy pressure on us and on La Rochelle as defending champions so that’s why this one will be a little different to the one we played last weekend.”

Source: Irish Times

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