Leinster not yet finished product – Nienaber

Henry

With a place in the Champions Cup final already in the bag, Jacques Nienaber has warned that Leinster can definitely play even better.

The Irish rugby club giants secured their chance for silverware glory against Toulouse at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with victory against the Northampton Saints in the semi-final of the tournament.

“We reviewed the Saints game together with the players and frankly there are still quite a few facets of the game in which we can improve,” said the former Springbok head coach.

Leinster enjoyed a 20–3 lead at one stage, but the danger lights began to flash as Northampton mounted a huge fightback at Croke Park in Dublin.

Nienaber probably breathed a sigh of relief when the final whistle blew with the score at 20–17 in his team’s favour.

“Were there things we could have done better on the field of play? Yes. Did we do other things well? Yes. I think rugby is a lot like life – some days you feel great and other days you don’t.”

According to Nienaber, it is also important that a team knows how to handle momentum – for and against you.

“There will always be opportunities. However, when you don’t take advantage of it, your opponents are going to punish you on the scoreboard.

“We still have a few weeks before the end of the season and that gives us a good chance to work on things. We are not yet the finished product.”

In the Champions Cup quarter-final against La Rochelle, Leinster showed what it is capable of under Nienaber’s supervision.

The Irish clinched the game 40–13 to exact sweet revenge for last year’s final loss to the very same team.

Captain Caelan Doris said after that duel that his players deserve a big pat on the back for their offensive play, as well as their touchy defense.

“Defensively, it was a very good performance. One could see this with some of the tackles on La Rochelle’s big ball carriers and they struggled to build up front-foot momentum. It undoubtedly contributed to our victory,” he said.