New Bok coach 'just can't help himself'
The collective desire to see South Africa maintain the momentum of last year’s World Cup victory has resulted in new Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber and his panel being ‘farmed out’ around the country.
The Stormers training session at their Bellville training ground on Tuesday had a host of very interesting observers’- including SA Rugby Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus, Nienaber and French-based Bok lock Eben Etzebeth.
Erasmus and Etzebeth (on a mini mid-season break while the Six Nations gets underway) were no more than casual observes, but Nienaber got stuck in during the latter stages of the Stormers training session.
It prompted Stormers coach John Dobson to compare Nienaber’s “passion and enthusiasm” with that of former Bok coach Nick Mallett.
Erasmus and Nienaber have been at Stormers training sessions the last two weeks, while Mzwandile Stick has been helping out at the Bulls.
Nienaber has also been seen around Sharks training sessions in Durban.
However, it is Nienaber’s involvement that really set the tongues wagging.
“He [Nienaber] was here last week as well,” Dobson told a media briefing – ahead of the Super Rugby season opener against the Hurricanes at Newlands on Saturday.
“He just can’t help himself. He arrived in jeans and a shirt and by the end [of training] he was coaching.”
* Watch from seven minutes 35 seconds as John Dobson speaks about the Bok coaching panel’s input at local franchises …
Dobson praised the new Bok coach’s passion and willingness to help out wherever he can.
“Jacques [Nienaber] is brilliant, on defence and in terms of his passion,” the Stormers coach said, adding: “He can never stand and watch.
“He is like Nick Mallett, he can’t just stand and watch.”
Dobson also lauded the attitude of Erasmus and the national panel.
“What is incredibly good in South African rugby at the moment, is the availability of the [members of] the national coaching panel.
“I am not sure how much it happens elsewhere in the world. We always hear the New Zealand central contracting model is brilliant, or the Irish model, or this one.
“I know Stick [Mzwandile Stick] has been to the Bulls to help with high balls.
“These guys [national coaching panel] go everywhere.
“[SA Rugby’s Director of Rugby] Rassie [Erasmus] has made them all available – it is brilliant.
“Rassie has given us a lot of help around refereeing management, across all the franchises.
“There is a real collective to build on the momentum of the World Cup.”
Dobson also said his team is working hard on the players’ management of referees, as there is a perception that South African players’ rapport with match officials are not very good.
That is why they have referee Cwengile Jadezweni at training almost every week, assisting the players with ‘attitude adjustment’.