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Sunday 24 February 2019

White to lead by example

Leinster's experienced signing happy to let his play do the talking on pitch

Former Waikato captain Nathan White is not known for taking a backward step.

White comes to Leinster with a reputation for brooking no nonsense in the white-hot fire of the front row.

Like Ireland on Sunday, Leinster will know that what Italian sides -- in this case Aironi on Saturday -- do not have in creativity, they make up for with destructive forward play.

You have to take the pain to get beyond the gain line.

Obviously, Leinster are short on leadership for this first segment of the season. Their captain, Rhys Ruddock, is just 21 years old.

White captained Waikato for the past two seasons in New Zealand's National Provincial Championship, or newly named ITM Cup, having earned a no-nonsense reputation as a leader, playing 73 times for Waikato and 41 times for the Chiefs in Super Rugby.

Will he be expected to put his leadership skills to the test?

"Nothing has been spoken to me about it," he said. "It is more about just fitting in really and doing my job. You can lead by actions without words. That is the best way I can do that at the moment."

He has signed on for one year, with an option to renew for another season if he can fare much better than last year's flop signing Clint Newland.



Impact

Forwards coach Jono Gibbes has obviously been keen to inform White that there is a difference in the interpretation of the scrum in the Northern Hemisphere and a more significant impact made off of it.

"The scrumming is a little bit different up here. You've obviously got a lot bigger guys and there are a lot more angles," said White, while revealing he has never met Leinster's forwards coach Greg Feek, currently working with Ireland at the World Cup.

"In New Zealand, the referees are a lot more involved in getting a good base to play with the ball. I am learning off the other guys who have been here for a while about what is expected."

The importation of Newland on a short-term contract was a disaster for Leinster last season. He simply could not get to grips with the standard of scrummaging required. The homework has been done. The trust of Joe Schmidt, Feek and Gibbes has come up with White as the best available and affordable tighthead.

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