Nienaber decision dispels WP gloom
Some of the sense of anti-climax and depression that has been hanging over Cape rugby ever since the Stormers were knocked out of Super Rugby would have been partially swept away with the announcement on Monday night that Jacques Nienaber has signed for another three years.
There has been uncertainty over the defence guru’s future ever since his mate and long-time colleague Rassie Erasmus parted ways with Western Province rugby back in January.
Although Nienaber was among the names that the WP bosses said they were re-contracting, Nienaber was never quite sure whether to carry on or not and he was looking at other options.
However, with his preferred option of linking up with the Springboks and perhaps taking a wider advisory role as a South African rugby defence coach helping all the unions not coming his way, the lure of living in Durbanville outside Cape Town proved too much in the face of what is believed to have been a big offer from the Bulls.
He is now contracted to WP until 2016, which is excellent news for fans of both Province and the Stormers.
Those in the know credit Nienaber for being the biggest factor in enabling the Stormers to absorb the loss of Erasmus and still secure a home semifinal this year.
While the Stormers were criticised for having a defensive mindset, if it were not for the magic that Nienaber weaves as a defence coach the Cape team would probably not have made the play-offs at all.
For his part, Nienaber reckons there are still good times ahead for WP and Stormers rugby, and as long as his voice continues to be heard within the management set-up at the Stormers, he may be right.
"I believe in what Allister and the team are trying to achieve here," said Nienaber in a press statement released by WP Rugby.
"We’re not the finished product, by any means, but we’re working hard here to get there. I believe in Allister and the top-notch players we have at our disposal and have no doubt that we will get there."
The Bulls have not been the only rugby organisation to have shown an interest in Nienaber’s genius, and he admitted that some of the offers had been tempting.
"It’s easy to get stale perhaps, and it’s tough to keep the players listening and perfecting themselves in training after so many years in the job.
"But the great thing for me is that two thirds of the team from the Vodacom Super Rugby season are still so young that many of them are in fact still eligible for the WP under-21 team. They can only get better as we work hard."