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'Northern Hemisphere' team South Africa have no 'hatred' for England

By Ian Cameron
Jacques Nienaber Head coach of South Africa prior the Rugby World Cup France 2023 Quarter Final match between France and South Africa at Stade de France on October 15, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Franco Arland/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

South African head coach Jacques Nienaber has denied there is any ‘hatred’ from the Springboks towards England and insists that his coaches have been treated with nothing but respect when visiting English clubs.

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This week there has been talk of a lingering beef between England and South Africa, both in regard to the Boks’ defeat of the men in white in last year’s Autumn Nations Series and their famous Rugby World Cup final win in Japan in 2019.

With many current Springboks players based in England, it has meant there have been regular visits from the Boks coaches. Nienaber insists they’ve always been welcomed with open arms by Gallagher Premiership clubs.

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WATCH as Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber explains why there is no room for ‘entitled’ players in his team

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WATCH as Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber explains why there is no room for ‘entitled’ players in his team

“With us having players in England, we go and visit our players, like Andre Esterhuizen at Harlequins, or Vincent Koch when he was at Saracens,” said Nienaber. “I must say we have always been met with open arms, like when we went to Sale to see the Du Preez brothers and Faf [de Klerk]. There hasn’t been one club who turned us away, they have always welcomed us. So from a hatred point of view, definitely not from our side. We have a good working relationship [with the English clubs], they are really open. They don’t deny us access under the regulations.”

Some pundits have mischievously claimed that the Boks are now a ‘Northern Hemisphere team’ given they have so many players based in Europe and the UK. RugbyPass writer Ben Smith wrote on X that: “We’ve got two Northern Hemisphere teams in one semi-final this week. South African clubs play in Europe and the rest of the Bok players are at other European clubs or Japan. Springboks = Northern Hemisphere team.”

Nienaber was asked to elaborate on the differences between the Six Nations and Rugby Championship teams, given so many South African teams now play in the United Rugby Championship.

“There are multiple factors but the first one is obviously the weather. In the southern hemisphere the game has the tendency to be a bit quicker because we play our games the majority of time in fair weather and on hard pitches.

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“When you play in the URC over December, January, February and you play at Connacht, it can be treacherous so you have to adapt your style of rugby to get a result whereas in the southern hemisphere it’s the odd game that you will have to adapt your style to fit the weather conditions.

“The other thing is, from a coaching point of view, because you play a Welsh, Scottish, Irish, South African or Italian team, every country has their own style of play so you get exposure to a lot of different coaching styles and methods. Every country has its own little soul, how they see rugby, so you have to adapt to that.

“Then there’s refereeing – this week you’ll get a Scottish referee, the next week an English referee, the next a Welsh referee, and I haven’t mentioned the playing surfaces – 4G, grass – so you have to be a lot more adaptive.

“In the southern hemisphere, the altitude, the time zones, the travel is something you have to adapt to. [In the northern hemisphere] if you’re at Munster and you play at Treviso, that is probably the longest journey you will face – a couple of hours – you’re in and out, whereas in the southern hemisphere it’s two three-week tours in different time zones so I’d say that’s the biggest differences in the competitions.”

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Comments

8 Comments
A
Andy 246 days ago

The AB's will be moaning even more once South Africa are playing in the 6 nations, the rugby championship will only have one good team in it and the competition will not be as good and the 6 nations will become a better competition

P
Phil 246 days ago

Hilarious that the Northern Hemisphere jibe came from Ben Smith, clearly a SH “journalist”.

Nobody up here considers SA to be anything other than SH.

Smith is just trolling as unusual.

J
JD Kiwi 246 days ago

Hilarious that desperate pundits from the north are trying to claim South Africa as one of theirs. The Springboks might be playing in an Afro-European club comp but they are still resolutely South African!

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