Jacques Nienaber has explained why he feels his new role at Leinster is a “perfect fit” for him after revealing that he turned down other international jobs to move to Ireland.
Nienaber joined Leinster fresh from coaching the Springboks to a historic World Cup title defence, as South Africa beat New Zealand’s All Blacks in the final to lift the Webb Ellis Cup for the fourth time.
Facing the media for the first time in his new role as Leinster’s senior coach, Nienaber shed further light on what drew him from the Boks to Dublin.
“I just felt I had lost a lot of time with my family. That’s why the decision was made between January and February,” Nienaber explained.
“My wife said, ‘Listen, I don’t think we can do another four years of this.’ The kids said, ‘Dad, we need you at home,’ and that’s why when the opportunity came up again with Leinster, I was nervous because I didn’t want to lose that cutting edge being challenged. I didn’t want to lose that because I feel that makes you a good coach.”
“That’s why this job for me was a perfect fit, I’m going to be challenged as a coach tremendously. There’s going to be big expectations, but at least I have some family time as well.”
Nienaber added that he departed the Boks with close friend Rassie Erasmus’ blessing and while he had opportunities to coach other countries, he wanted to return to a provincial level.
“They were happy with it,” he said. “They gave me their blessing, and then, when the opportunity came up, we announced it as quickly as possible because it was never for me [that] I didn’t want to work in South Africa anymore.
“There were other offers from other internationals. It wasn’t for me to change, or to move, or to come north. It wasn’t anything like that. It was just that I needed to get away from international rugby. That was the reason.”
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