Wednesday 13 November 2019

Kirchner determined to lead by example

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 14: Zane Kirchner of South Africa makes a run during The Rugby Championship match between the New Zealand All Blacks and the South African Springboks at Eden Park on September 14, 2013 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 14: Zane Kirchner of South Africa makes a run during The Rugby Championship match between the New Zealand All Blacks and the South African Springboks at Eden Park on September 14, 2013 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

His contract is up at the end of the season and although he is fully expected to sign a new deal, Zane Kirchner wasn't giving anything away when pushed on the subject.

The South African admitted that the World Cup would be a factor in his decision, but it looks unlikely that he will be able to force himself into Heyneke Meyer's plans.

"It's definitely at the back of my mind. I think if I do stay on this side with really good performances, you can always be in contention for being selected," Kirchner said.

"On the other side, I don't think they really get to see loads of our games apart from the Champions Cup so for me, at the moment, it's about week by week."

There are more pressing issues at hand for Kirchner such as trying to instil some consistency in Leinster's season.

With Matt O'Connor still without the majority of his Ireland players, Zirchner knows that there is an added responsibility on the internationals like himself to set an example to the younger, less experienced players.

Direction

"At the end of the day, we're the ones who they turn to. As the international guys who are still here, we need to give them direction and stand up as leaders. I think that's vital," he said.

Leinster take on the Scarlets next Saturday and Kirchner has labelled it as the province's "most vital game of the season so far".

Last season during the same Six Nations period, Leinster picked up 19 points from a possible 20 and the Springbok full-back knows that the pressure is on the players to deliver.

"We haven't done that well when the internationals haven't been involved, but there's still a couple of games left when they're not going to be here," he said.

"We can't really do anything about the past. This weekend is probably our most vital game of the season to get back to winning terms.

"We need that to get more and more confidence going into the play-off stages. It's a pressure game and you need to live up to that."

The lack of continuity within the Leinster side due to international commitments has been one of the reasons their season has lacked the consistency of old.

And despite the fact that Kirchner has been in and out of the team himself, he is determined to make his mark in the weeks ahead of a crucial final period.

"It can be tricky. It's something you need to adjust," Kirchner said of the rotation.

"You only get so many days during the week to train together and get a feel for each other.

"Whatever happens on the training field will normally happen on game day so it is an aspect we really need to adjust to quite quick."

He might be reluctant to reveal his plans for the future, but Kirchner knows what is required of him in the present.

Irish Independent

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