James Ryan: Jacques Nienaber already having 'big impact' at Leinster

James Ryan: Jacques Nienaber already having 'big impact' at Leinster

Leinster lock forward James Ryan has lauded the impact former Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber is having after the team's impressive triumph over Champions Cup holders La Rochelle.

The Irish outfit gained revenge over a team that has held a hoodoo over them in recent seasons, after winning back-to-back Champions Cup finals.

Leinster's hard-fought 16-9 win at the Stade Marcel-Deflandre on Sunday hands them an ideal platform to build this campaign as they kept the champions try-less at home.

That will no doubt delight new senior coach Nienaber, whose defensive specialties are clearly having a swift impact, with Ryan revealing how they approached the match.

"We had to play a different type of rugby, it wasn't the night to play Leinster rugby in," the co-captain told Leinster Rugby TV after the wet-weather result in France.

"We had to play in the right areas and be strong at set-piece. Thankfully we did enough in the end.

"When you are playing away in the Champions Cup, away in France, I think it's your defence that wins you the game.

"Jacques has made a big impact since he's come in. It was great, the lads really enjoyed defending out there for each other, hugely satisfying."

Next up for Leinster is a home game at the RDS Arena against Sale Sharks, who overcame Stade Francais in their opening Champions Cup fixture this past weekend.

"Sale are a seriously good team so [with] a six-day turnaround the emphasis is getting home and recovering quickly," Ireland international forward Ryan explained.

"We've got to make sure we are physically and mentally ready to go again in six days."

Following the game against Sale, Leinster return to United Rugby Championship duty in a blockbuster meeting with Munster at Thomond Park on December 26.

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