On this enterprise, you need to dwell within the current and to an extent sooner or later, says Nienaber.
First printed by the Each day Maverick 168 weekly newspaper
Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber has had a irritating 12 months. The world champions have been sidelined by Covid-19 and unable to play, however Nienaber is upbeat with a large 2021 season looming. There’s a very actual probability the Springboks will go into subsequent July’s Check sequence towards the British & Irish Lions having not performed a Check in 20 months. There’s a probability Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber’s first Check in cost shall be towards the Lions. He’s unfazed.
It’s the largest rugby occasion outdoors a World Cup, given the Lions solely tour each 4 years and are available to South Africa each 12 years. In an excellent world the Boks would have performed 12 Exams after successful Rugby World Cup (RWC) 2019, earlier than the primary Check towards the Lions on 24 July, 2021.
But when 2020 has taught us something, it’s that we don’t dwell in something near an excellent world. So, it’s in all probability lucky that Nienaber is steering the Boks. He seems to deal with each problem with readability, humour and with eyes solely on the longer term.
“If that’s the situation, we wouldn’t have one other selection, so we must get on with it,” Nienaber advised DM168.
“If these are the playing cards I’m dealt, it doesn’t assist losing vitality serious about how unfair it’s. That’s the fact I may need to take care of so the very best factor is to seek out methods to make it work.
“I feel that mindset comes from my physio background. In case you deal with a participant and he comes again every week later with the identical pulled hamstring, you don’t have time to consider what might have been accomplished in a different way. You simply must get on to fixing the brand new drawback.
“On this enterprise you’ve gotten to have the ability to dwell within the current and to an extent sooner or later. You can’t dwell prior to now as a result of you’ll expend an excessive amount of vitality worrying about issues that can don’t have any affect on the longer term.
“In case you requested me in January after I was appointed Bok coach, would I’ve appreciated this 12 months to pan out because it did, clearly my reply would have been ‘no’. But it surely did … and I’ve spent no time worrying about issues I can’t management. I simply maintain wanting ahead and attempt to remedy issues and creatively provide you with plans to make the very best of it.”
Placing South Africa first
A part of these plans contain looking for opponents for preparation Exams earlier than the Lions sequence. It’s one thing Nienaber has left to director of rugby Rassie Erasmus and his staff.
Erasmus, who coached the Boks to RWC 2019 glory, is much like Nienaber: they each get pleasure from inventive drawback fixing and have confronted the challenges Covid-19 has offered pragmatically.
The motto of the 2019 Boks was: “Let the primary factor, keep the primary factor.” It meant the primary factor was successful rugby matches and titles, no matter occurred in tandem with that was a bonus. So long as gamers and coaches stayed targeted on what they may management, that they had accomplished their job.
It’s the identical strategy that was taken within the choice for the Boks to remain out of the Rugby Championships this 12 months. It led to some unhappiness from their southern hemisphere companions New Zealand, Australia and Argentina. But it surely was one thing the Boks might management they usually weren’t bullied into a foul selection.
The choice, which was made within the pursuits of participant welfare following an extended and restrictive lockdown and nearly no rugby, got here below additional scrutiny when Argentina surprisingly beat New Zealand of their opening fixture of the 2020 Tri-Nations.
Fingers have been pointed at South Africa for not a minimum of making the trouble to go, however Nienaber is unmoved by that criticism.
“Would we have the ability to carry out and wouldn’t it be protected for our gamers popping out of an extended lockdown? That’s what we requested ourselves,” Nienaber stated.
“To me, it was by no means about efficiency. It by no means crossed my thoughts that the Springboks weren’t able to successful if we went to the event. I by no means thought-about that we is likely to be smashed after I evaluated the scenario primarily based on efficiency alone. However participant security was an enormous concern.
“If we had gone and performed Rugby Championship, we’d have solely completed our schedule on 12 December. We’d’ve needed to play six Exams in 5 weeks. Keep in mind Argentina solely performed 4 Exams,” he stated.
“When you think about, after the All Blacks misplaced to Argentina, that their coach Ian Foster talked about that it was his staff’s fifth match in six weeks as one of many elements behind the defeat, you begin to see the issue we confronted. We needed to play six Exams in 5 weeks. It wouldn’t have been protected for the gamers. Our gamers would have come again and after quarantine and gone straight right into a summer time Currie Cup after which into the following factor. Every nation had its personal obstacles and agendas and we needed to do what was greatest for our gamers.”
RWC 2023 draw
Final Monday, World Rugby hosted the draw for RWC 2023 in France. The Boks have been drawn alongside Eire and Scotland with the identification of the opposite two groups of their Pool to be determined in a qualifying course of.
It was ludicrously early to stage a draw for a event three years away in a sport the place rather a lot modifications, shortly. Though Nienaber trotted out some obligatory sound bites in regards to the future opponents, in actuality RWC 2023 isn’t even on his radar.
“The World Cup draw makes no distinction to me at this stage. The time I spent serious about it was in all probability three minutes,” Nienaber stated. “I’m certain the folks [who] organised the draw and determined to have it three years upfront for no matter cause, gave it much more thought.
“They in all probability have logistics to cowl they usually want three years to prepare. I’ll fear about World Cup opponents when the time is correct.
“Folks have requested me if I’m involved who now we have drawn … and I’m actually not involved. The draw is one thing that was out of our management as a staff, and we’ll play who we’re going to play, so we’ll take care of these plans when now we have to.”
There it’s once more. Solely spending vitality on what he can management. DM168
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