Interesting Comments by Nienaber on the coaching change that turned the Springboks into World Champions

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May 18, 2020, 08:16

The following from News24:-

"As the 2019 Rugby World Cup victory gets dissected by those across the rugby globe in terms of how Rassie Erasmus turned a team into world champions in just 18 months, much focus will go into the team culture that was created for the side.

But in a revealing interview, new Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber, who served as the defence coach for the side in the World Cup, revealed there never was a distinct push to create a team culture in the Bok camp.

Instead Nienaber revealed the team dispatched with the traditional fines system and “treated players as adults”, stressing personal responsibility and the culture formed by itself.

In a video webinar with Wits University’s Sports Department (WISH), Nienaber spoke candidly about how the Bok culture came together under Erasmus.

“We do it a little bit different and not to say there is a right or wrong way. When we started in 2018, we didn’t sit down and say: 'What should the Springbok culture look like?' We started working with the players from the understanding that a culture is something that will come out,” he said.

“You can write down that you want refusal to be defeated to be one of the key things that when people look at your team, is one of the characteristics they pick up. If they are 24-3 down against England they will not go lie down. You can write it down and it is nice to have it, but it is not necessarily that it would manifest because you don’t know if you have those types of players or if the team is that type of team. But it is nice to have it in words.

“We do it differently and we see we are 24-3 down trying a new defence system and getting skinned on the edge with two first test wingers. A refusal to be defeated was something this team had from the start.

“Later on, you can say if you don’t have this characteristic in you, you are probably not going to fit into this group, because this group has got it.

No brainstorming

Nienaber spoke about how different the Bok environment was in terms of planning when compared to previous sides he was involved in.

“So maybe it is the other way around. In other teams I have been involved in, teams will start and someone will brainstorm, get someone in and write something down like 'we will have trust, energy and refuse to lie down'.

“It is nice words but it is not necessarily that it will manifest in reality. Once you start working with a team and you give it a chance to manifest on its own, you will give it time to pull out aspects that you can see visually, that the team has got it.

“You know that the team has got this, and they will live up to this because this is one of our cultures.”

Personal Responsibility

This meant dispatching with a rules-based approach in favour of a personal responsibility for every Bok player.

“I would say that we didn’t go sit down and discuss what type of culture we would have. For instance the culture we would have is that there weren’t rules. In normal types of teams the fine system will be there – if you are late for a meeting there is a R1000 fine you have to pay, same if you have the wrong clothes on, most teams have that.

“We had none of that. There was nothing.

“If you were late for a meeting and you said ‘sorry I was late, I overslept’, it is understandable. We wanted to treat the players as adults. But if you come late three times, four times then maybe the Springbok environment is not important to you. Because if it was important to you you wouldn’t have been late.

“We looked at it from a different perspective, we said ‘we’re all adults here, so if you are late, you are late. And if you say sorry, it's sorry’. But if it happens regularly, perhaps it isn’t that important to you.

“So that was something from the onset that Rassie brought in. The main thing is that we wanted to treat the players as adults.”

Family environment

Another aspect that helped relax the players was the embracing of the family environment in a way that seldom happens with professional teams.

“We were open to families. I’m again stressing that it isn’t the right or wrong way, but it worked for us. We have a few older players who have families and kids. From the onset we said the wives can travel with us. We would love them to travel with, you can get your kids to travel with.

“At the World Cup we had our families there and they are allowed to travel within the team. They eat breakfast with the players. It was the nicest thing when you walk into the dining section that there are kids running around and they are laughing. It is a normal environment.

“Other teams didn’t have the wives travelling with and they weren’t allowed to stay in the team hotels. Other teams operate in other ways and it worked for them. That is what I found was different in our team and the other teams I was part of, it was all inclusive.

“There were kids on the bus. Wherever we could get families involved we got them involved. We wanted to make it as family friendly as possible.”

Nienaber stressed that every team is different, but in the case of the 2019 Springboks it worked magically, and the Webb Ellis Cup is a testament to that success."

No wonder James O'Connor after watching some video's on team talks said he would like to be coached by Erasmus, What Erasmus and Nienaber did was something the Springboks were never accustomed to for years and it shows that it worked, 


May 18, 2020, 10:16

Sorry Mike trying to understand your headline.

What was the issue?

It’s more like a change than an issue.

May 18, 2020, 10:16

Sorry Mike trying to understand your headline.

What was the issue?

It’s more like a change than an issue.

May 18, 2020, 11:48

You are right about it, I will change the Headline

May 18, 2020, 17:07

No I think Frans Steyn’s “bomb squad” did the trick.....dominating the closing minutes of the semi (crucially) and putting gloss on a dour final win.

May 18, 2020, 17:15

Was the Bomb Squad - of which Steyn was an insignificant player in a group of 8 players - part of the team or not?

The fact is that Erasmus took a modern and very practical approach to people management and made the players feel as important contributors and not treated like schoolboys needing an iron rod to keep them in place.

I hope White got the message loud and clear.    

May 18, 2020, 17:19

Or perhaps it was talking to the kids at I’m a bit conflicted.

May 18, 2020, 18:28

No Mozart you apparently do not understand,   Players are people and they are treated as such and  that includes their families.   They are not part of a machine that needs to be controlled totally, they are partners in a challenging environment,    

Things like military control of players are in the end negative,    Erasmus deal with the situation on a partnership basis - allowing players to raise their own viewpoints and make them feel part of the team and full partners in the enterprise.   He did it without dispensing of team discipline and that is why he is adored as a rugby genius worldwide.     

Incidentally there is a very interesting discussion on the final in the Squidge Report on why SA won the final in the WC,   Google it and you may learn some things  most people have never even  considered.       

May 18, 2020, 18:50

Sometimes coaches ‘empower’ players.....sometimes they are strict disciplinarians. Both styles work....and after something succeeds many ‘good’ reasons are always credited.

The fact is we lost to the ABs, then had an easy ride to the semis which we narrowly won against the Welsh and then found the Poms’ Achilles heel  in the scrum.

We won that match because of the Beast....if Rassie picked Kitshoff he would have produced his usual neutral scrummaging effort...... I credit Rassie with that..... picking the Beast. The kids at breakfast  is a nice fable  to make the girls happy.

May 18, 2020, 20:16

As per normal you summing-ups are total nonsense,   First of all you left out two important facts;- Although the AB's beat SA - England beat the AB's easily, while SA dismantled  the English,  The second thing is that in the NZ  Breaking Down TV Program  Tony Browne said judging by what happened during the match SA would have beaten  the AB's comfortably.

The team had a massive advantage in scrum penalties  Four penalties from scrums contributed directly 12 of the points of the Springboks, The other facets contributed 20 points - so their is a need for best balanced reports and your one missed the target by 90 degrees

May 18, 2020, 20:29

But the 12 points came when the match was still alive.....most of the remaining 20 came when the Poms were toast. 

As for the ‘we would have beaten the ABs’ argument.....what’s that all about, third time lucky?

May 19, 2020, 04:25


That is what most people call BS,   When a NZ coach involved in coaching in the WC said NZ would not have beaten SA in the final in a panel discussion on NZ TV and Plumtree on TV made a similar remark you claimed they were not to be believed,

As to the rest it is a point where there was no difference on - but to give scrumming superiority as the only reason for the win is total baloney,   It was a major factor - but the rest of the situation were even more of a factor,   If the won was by even 6 points that would be true - bit the Springboks beat the English by 20 points.  

Go and watch that Squidge report which I referred to you to watch and see some now angles and important points,   One of the issues he raised was that in their previous 11 matches the English team scored tries within the first ten minutes in every match - in the first ten minutes in the final  England did not get over the halfway line,    Maybe if you start thinking something may open your mind a bit of air  into a totally distorted rugby view based on prejudice 

By the way treating players like they were schoolchildren is in the end always a disaster - ask White and Meyer about that in the jobs they had after their Springbok coaching stints,   There was a difference between Erasmus and the other two,   In the case of Erasmus the players would walk through a wall not to disappoint him - in the case of White and Meyer the recent stories all indicate a dislike of substantial proportions amongst the players in the 2007 WC squad and a believe that Meyer was incompetent as a coach,   

I think the reason for the best performance ever in 2019 by a distance in the three WC finals the Springboks played in  was based on Erasmus and seven of the players involved:- 

Handre Pollard, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Tendai Mtawarira, Frans Malherbe, Damian de Allende, Duane Vermeulen and Faf de Klerk.  

They outplayed and out thought the players in their respective positions by a distance as well.  So live with it,    


May 19, 2020, 07:18

The Boks were quite fortunate, as they had a schedule that afforded them the opportunity to be nothing more than a blunt and one-dimensional instrument. Had Wales been fit - they were decimated - we'd have been knocked out. It's that simple. England are a vastly more rounded team and a far better attacking side, but that lack of hard edge in the set pieces was always there to be exploited - as I predicted before the game (take note of that!). It was the one thing New Zealand couldn't impose, and that was why they were shredded, and we weren't. If Beast doesn't dominate, we end up with England dominating that first half, and from there we have a much less likely chance to win. It was all Beast. He was by far the most significant player at the World Cup for the Boks. No Beast; no World Cup. Another player vilified by the plastics who dished out some egg. Nothing new under the sun. 

May 19, 2020, 07:35

And the winner is Mozart! Every thread, no matter what the topic, there appears to be a competition between Mike and Moz, to see how quickly they can force their old boring agendas onto a new topic. 

May 19, 2020, 08:38


So what have you seen in the game tat everyone else missed out on?   Nutcase you missed out   90% if the situation.  If  Wales beat us - we would be out. Sure a brilliant observation a standard 2 kid will tell you - but there is one angle that is true as well.   Wales never once in the march was leading in the game - they caught up - but unlike what was the case in the 2015 quarterfinal never led in the game.   That reduced their chances drastically in winning the game.  By the way - if my auntie had balls she would have been my uncle.  Who were the Welsh players who were unfit?   The whole team or just a few?

Go and watch what really happened on the game.   How did the Springboks dismantle the English team and all you say it happened all in four scrums - in which Beast was scrumming in 3.   That was why the Springboks won the game by 20 points,    

Why do you post so rarely on site  lately - life is so depressing under the lockdown and one would hope to see more of your idiotic posts and laugh about it and then demolish your garbage and rugby ignorance in as easy term - BS.    .        



May 19, 2020, 09:02

Why post so rarely? The forum is dead, and I have far better things to do than entertain the same worn-out topics that occupy almost 100% of its content. Obviously, life is sadder for you than me. I can't say I am surprised. We've had years of you on a forum, and that has been too much; those who know you in person have taken the full expression of your malodorous ways for years, if not decades! 

May 19, 2020, 09:20

The Poms were unsettled by a cheap trick.

The rush defense.

They lost all momentum due to this borderline offside tactic.

It disrupted the Poms in every way and once they lost their tighthead to injury, all the wheels fell off.

Claiming the Goats to be this team of incredible champions is laughable.

May 19, 2020, 09:38

That Squidge report does bring out the worst in England...I started looking at Young's throwing the ball into touch (if you were an All Black and did that they would replace you) 
England just couldn't get the ball out ,time and again they looked asleep.Commentator refers to it as an optical illusion of an overlap.Farrell almost threw the worst pass in World Cup Rugby,in his dead ball area.

As I said long before the World Cup that's it's won by defence.If England had got ahead in those first 20 min the English supporters would have gone bananas  and we wouldn't have even heard our lineout calls.
Just watch ole a fox terrier...flip no wonder the Welsh wanted to moer him.
Love his description of Kolbe   "As big as a salad." 
Pieter Stef  "the sobbing shithouse"  haha

May 19, 2020, 10:03

It also bring out Erasmus as a miracle man in Munster as well as in the Springbok team.   And he posted some real insight into the game.   Squidge had a few points definitely correct. .           

May 19, 2020, 10:16


You always distorted the story of whatever rugby comment you made - under your present user name and  the other user names you used,   That was what you became known for on site,   You always ran away when caught out and came back under a different user name when exposed.   With your history of total rugby ignorance you know by now that coming up with a new user name would be discovered immediately after your first posting under a new name,   

So as a coward you decided not to post regularly and when  you do you keep repeating BS like Meyer was a top coach even after he was fired because of rank incompetence while coaching Stade Francais,   Your other better than Erasmus claimant Coetzee was fired by his Japanese club as well.     . 

We are all bored because there is no live sport on TV - and the only relieve we get comedy wise is reading the BS you and to a lesser degree Mozart comes up with.  LMAO  

May 19, 2020, 13:04

Squidge is brilliant! Very funny and very good insights. Go back and watch his videos again...and pause when writing flashes up on the screen. You'll miss what he says if you try and read it in real time. Very funny!

May 19, 2020, 19:09

"The fact is we lost to the ABs, then had an easy ride to the semis which we narrowly won against the Welsh and then found the Poms’ Achilles heel  in the scrum."

True, we did...and although the score said a 10 point margin, it was very close. That match could have gone either way...we won when we had to...NZ didn't...we ran the marathon and won...NZ, Wales and England stumbled in the finishing straight. We won when it counted...some luck, yes, but some good reward on all the planning and coaching. We deserved it and no team deserved it more. No teams were shafted, no dodgy calls or controversy...good, solid, fair and square victory...lekkkerrrr!!!!

May 20, 2020, 01:09

No team deserved it more? I wouldn't say that. If we look at performance, the Boks didn't play good rugby until the final itself, and that hinged of forward dominance. It was a case of a good match-up, we were fortunate that we didn't have to play New Zealand in the knock-out rounds, as we showed we didn't have the rounded game to put them away even when we dominated upfront, and the only other game outside the final that would have been a threat was blighted by injuries to the opposition: Wales. The same Welsh team who historically give us very, very close games. In spite of their disadvantage, they gave us an almighty fright. Louw saved the day. Another vilified player. Great players have great moments attached to their names. Unlike other more popular players, Louw and Beast - the two most significant World Cup Boks - these players have many big moments to go with the names. It isn't often that a team has such favourable match-ups. I credit the Boks for taking the opportunities, and for the final. However, to say this team was all-time great is to be kidding oneself. This was a very inaccurate and one-dimensional team that was even exposed for stretches by minnows. 

May 20, 2020, 06:19

"No team deserved it more? I wouldn't say that. "

OK, so in your opinion then, which one of England, NZ or Wales deserved it more than the Boks and should rather have won the trophy then

May 20, 2020, 07:10

England played better rugby. If we talk of quality throughout the tournament, then the Boks are not in the conversation for "deserving it more than anyone else". The rugby was quite poor up until the final. 

May 20, 2020, 10:31

I think the team the team that made it to the finals and defeated the other finalists convincingly is the deserved champions. The trick is to peak at the right time. The Boks did.

 We made slight adjustments to our predictable game plan and the Poms couldn't adapt to it. They had no answer...they definitely did not deserve it on the day...and if you can't win a final in a knockout tournament, you definitely don't deserve the trophy.

May 20, 2020, 14:14

Actually, you are entirely wrong. The gameplan was entirely the same, a few differences were some throws wide from those 3 man pods, but we've seen that many times before. Even then, it didn't make the Boks any less predictable; it was the exact blueprint of the dour Stompies ball Rassie implemented for many years, the blueprint which rendered the Stompies bottom of the log in attack output or very near so each and every season. 

You talked of "deserving". That means we evaluate the quality of rugby throughout the competition. The Boks fail your criteria. As for the English not being able to adapt, that was easy to foresee, as the entire premise of that game unfolded exactly as I predicted. Based on knowing the teams. The English were the best match-up we could have had of the NH teams. We were built to hurt their weakest areas, provided that the team featured the right pieces. Set pieces. That was the reason why we won, not because the Boks became more elusive or dynamic. They were a predictable bashing side who took the Poms out up front in the set pieces and relied on individual ability in a couple of instances to make something happen. It's that simple. 

May 20, 2020, 15:20

"You talked of "deserving". That means we evaluate the quality of rugby throughout the competition. The Boks fail your criteria"

The proof is in the reflected on the scoreboard after the final...32 - 12 vs what you are punting as the best team...?

According to you, the best/most deserved team lost by 20 points against a lesser deserved team, who played a bog ordinary game plan, without any a final almost no one gave them a chance of winning...and you are saying it with a straight face?

You do realize that it sounds slightly ridiculous? 

I know what you are saying, but you are not giving Rassie and his Boks enough credit...this was arguably the best Bok performance in a high pressure match in modern times. I have never seen a Bok team absorb so much pressure and come out on top.

We did it vs Jap, Wales and then England. You seem to think it was some sort of fluke...I don' was hart, determination  and focus we don't see that much lately. 

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