Nienaber: 'Munster blessed to have very skilful players'

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent


Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent


Nienaber: 'Munster blessed to have very skilful players'

MUNSTER defence coach Jacques Nienaber said he has been taken with the quality of the skill set of the province's players since his arrival from South Africa.

Nienaber is credited with playing a crucial role in Munster's excellent first half of the season, which has seen the province secure a home quarter-final in the Champions Cup as well as flying high in the Guinness Pro12.

Munster played their re-arranged Guinness PRO12 clash with Edinburgh at Myreside this Friday, 7.35pm.

The game was postponed at the start of January to allow Munster play their rescheduled Champions Cup clash away to Racing 92.

Munster currently sit in second place in the PRO12 table, three points behind the Ospreys, but with a game in hand.

Munster face Friday's clash with Edinburgh minus their Irish internationals who are busily preparing for Saturday's 6 Nations opener against Scotland.

Jacques Nienaber said: “When we (Rassie Erasmus and I) decided to come to Munster, actually we did a lot of research and analysis on the players. I analysed a few of their games.

“I thought that they had great quality players in terms of what I could see. Obviously you know the internationals but I remember looking at some of the players and I thought they had got great skill-set. But I didn’t know them.

“But when I got here, after about the first month I told Rassie; ‘I think we are blessed. We have got very skilful rugby players.’ I was surprised, not surprised but I didn’t expect that. I was taken by the quality of the skill-set of the players.

“ I was surprised to see the physicality, the amount of detail that’s in their plays, and in the players their coachibility was different to where I am coming from.

“In South Africa players from the rural areas will not have a standard eight. Which is probably eight or nine in Ireland’s education system.

“A PowerPoint presentation it would be tough for players to concentrate, here you have got guys who have done their Masters. So it was nice.”

Munster have conformed that second-row Dave Foley has met with a specialist following the wrist injury he sustained in action for Munster A side in the friendly fixture with against Saracens Storm.

The second row will be 'managed conservatively with a view to returning to play in the coming weeks.'

There is good news for Darren Sweetnam (knee) and Duncan Casey (knee), both of whom progress to modified training this week.

In-form Munster have won 12 of their last 13 fixtures in all competitions.