Tough road ahead for new Bok coach Nienaber, De Villiers predicts

Former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers. Picture: Gallo Images

Dealing with public pressure will be job number one for Jacques Nienaber, according to former Bok mentor Peter de Villiers.

New Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber will face various challenges when
the international season resumes, former Bok coach Peter de Villiers believes.
De Villiers, who won 30 of his 48 Test matches in charge for a 62.5
winning percentage before his reign came to an end in 2011, predicted
that Nienaber would need to meet big expectations from the demanding
local rugby republic.
“Saru make appointments and they can appoint who they like,” De Villiers said.
“But [the media] are Saru’s conscience… and they must be held responsible for what they do with the country’s assets.
“That’s Jacques’ first coaching priority.”
The Boks lost two key members
of last year’s World Cup coaching team, with scrum coach Matthew
Proudfoot having joined England and
conditioning coach Aled Walters moving to Leicester Tigers.
In their absence, De Villiers felt it was crucial for Nienaber to step
up from his previous assistant role.
“There will definitely be questions asked as he was a defence coach
and not a head coach before, but the immediate focus for him will be
to take responsibility with the heavy load that will be put on his
shoulders,” De Villiers said.
Only time would tell how Nienaber’s arrival would be viewed, however,
once the team had a few Tests under the belt.
“Communication is a coach’s biggest challenge and personally I like
Jacques as a coach. I think he is a good coach, but then Allister
(Coetzee, former Bok coach) was also a good coach and we all know what
happened there,” De Villiers said.
“Players normally know whether you can make it as a coach and the
problem with most of our coaches is that they coach talent and not
potential.
“This is a big problem in our country because a lot of the late
bloomers who have excelled didn’t come through the so-called top
schools.”
Earlier in his career, when he was an age-group coach, De Villiers
said statistics had proved that some players blossomed later than
others.
“When I was coach of the (SA) U-19’s no less than 80% of them became
Boks, but only 40% of them actually played Craven Week,” said De
Villiers, who had since started a foundation and was hosting coaching
clinics.
“Another example is the northern hemisphere where they don’t have
events like Craven Week but rather focus on the establishment of rugby
academies.”

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