Leinster Rugby have today confirmed that current South Africa head coach Jacques Nienaber will join the province after the Rugby World Cup later this year.
Watch Leo Cullen speak exclusively to Leinster Rugby TV about Jacques Nienaber’s arrival here.
Nienaber will replace current senior coach Stuart Lancaster, who leaves Leinster at the end of the season to join Racing 92.
Speaking to leinsterrugby.ie from their base in South Africa this week, Cullen said: “We are delighted to confirm that Jacques Nienaber will be joining Leinster Rugby next season.
Jacques is a world class coach with a winning track record at the very highest level of the game, and we’re all looking forward to learning from him over the coming seasons.
“With the addition of the South African teams to the BKT URC and the Heineken Champions Cup, Jacques’ in-depth knowledge and experience of working with the Springboks will be a great addition to the group.
“We are all really excited to welcome Jacques and his family to Leinster after the Rugby World Cup and I’m sure all Leinster fans will give him a warm welcome when he arrives.”
Nienaber has been head coach of the Springboks since January 2020, having been assistant coach under Rassie Erasmus when they won the Rugby World Cup in 2019.
The 50-year-old took over from Erasmus after that World Cup, and while Covid-19 interrupted the start of his reign, he has since led South Africa to a series win over the British & Irish Lions and will lead his country to the Rugby World Cup in France later this year.
Nienaber, who is a physiotherapist by qualification, has also had spells with Western Province, the Stormers and with Munster Rugby as defence coach in 2016, also under Erasmus.
Commenting on the appointment, Leinster Rugby CEO Shane Nolan stated: “Since my arrival, Leo’s contract extension and then Stuart’s replacement have been key priorities, and it’s great to now get Jacques’ signature across the line.
“He brings incredible experience and pedigree to the role. He knows the Irish system well, as he does the URC and its demands.
“Obviously, his in-depth knowledge of South African rugby is incredibly valuable as we see both the URC and the Champions Cup competitions evolve year on year with the introduction of the South African teams.
“Having someone of Jacques’ calibre on board to join Leo, Andrew (Goodman), Robin (McBryde), Sean (O’Brien) and Emmet (Farrell) is huge for Leinster as we look to our next stage of evolution. We look forward to welcoming Jacques and his family to Dublin in due course.”
Nienaber will join Leinster when South African interest in the Rugby World Cup comes to an end, and speaking to leinsterrugby.ie, he said: “The anticipation and excitement are building as we prepare to defend the Rugby World Cup title.
“It continues to be an amazing time with the Springboks and it’s a privilege to be involved in my third World Cup after 2011 and 2019. Being in a World Cup year my focus will be back on defending the title back-to-back.
It is always hard to leave an institution that have provided you with so much honour, joy and fulfilment but the only constant in life is change.
“At the end of the World Cup myself and my family will leave to Ireland to join up with Leinster Rugby. When the time is right, I will be looking forward to new and exciting challenges.
“They are renowned for operating a quality and high performance environment and it’s an honour to join up with Leinster. I look forward to contributing to that after the World Cup.”