Erasmus hails defence coach’s impact

Date published: August 22 2016

Munster director of rugby Rassie Erasmus praised the impact of his side's defence coach Jacques Nienaber after their 17-0 win over Zebre at the weekend.

Nienaber's methods had the desired effect in Munster's first pre-season friendly with the Irish province's players adapting quickly to his style.

"I think they enjoy the way Jacques does it," Erasmus told after Friday's clash in Waterford.

"He has a massive passion for defence and the players are understanding what he’s trying to do.

"He understands them and he doesn’t expect a player who has a certain skillset to do something he can’t, so that’s where the connection is really good at the moment.

"Jacques will be pretty happy with that. When you make so many changes, you lose a little bit of rhythm but you always expect the defence to stay solid and they did that tonight.

"Zebre came close a couple of times but it was solid."

Erasmus was happy to keep the opposition scoreless in Munster's first friendly, but he was disappointed that his charges couldn't build attacking pressure on their Italian opponents without kicking.

"I think philosophy-wise, we couldn’t really do a lot of things because of the weather," he added.

"I know it’s going to rain a lot here, but when the wind is howling like that it really makes it tough to play any rugby.

"Defensively, we did well and tactically we did ok, but it’s tough to judge the attack really. We scored three tries but they were kicking tries; it’s tough to judge it. But there were individual skills, which is pleasing."

The former Stormers boss hopes to see an improved attacking effort when Munster host Worcester Warriors in Cork this Friday.

"Hopefully, we will get some attacking stuff going next week," he said.

"I know we scored three tries, but we want to get some structured attack. Our turnover attack and general attack was good, but some structured attack would be excellent if we could get it under the belt."