Newly appointed Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber says he would not have taken the step up from his role as an assistant coach if he was not confident in his own ability.
Nienaber was officially confirmed as the new Bok coach for the next four-year cycle leading in to the 2023 World Cup, with Rassie Erasmus focusing on his responsibilities as SA Rugby director of rugby full time.
There are, of course, concerns over the fact that this will be Nienaber’s first head coaching role, with the 47-year-old having previously served as a physio, strength and conditioning and defence coach.
While Nienaber admits there is little he could say to allay fears that he would be set for something of a baptism of fire this year, he added:
‘The people that say that it is a massive risk in terms of the fact that I haven’t been a head coach before, what can I say? They are probably right. I can’t argue.
‘I haven’t been a head coach before. But I can tell you that I am not stupid. I understand that it is a risk. It might be a risk for me and for the organisation. We have discussed between each other how we will manage that. That is the only thing you can do, is to try and manage that.
‘Obviously, when Rassie told me that he believes I was the one to go forward, I would not have accepted it if I did not think I could do it. If you go back, me starting as a physio, going into strength and conditioning, going into defence coaching, I am the type of guy who likes new challenges. So, I am quite keen on this.
‘I wouldn’t have accepted this if I did not think I could make a success out of it. Otherwise I would have said I was comfortable as a defence coach. So, from my perspective, I can’t convince people of their doubt. My results will have to do that. The challenge will come when we play Scotland in July,’ he concluded.
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