MUNSTER - Munster director of rugby Rassie Erasmus looks set to exercise an exit clause to return to South Africa in a director of rugby role with the Springboks.
For much of this year, there has been extensive speculation that SA Rugby has been intently entering into discussions with Erasmus in order for him to return home, but in April, it seemed as if he was set to remain in Ireland when he reportedly informed Munster players that he would be continuing in his current role.
However, it appears that the South African Rugby Union has not given up on its desire to lure Erasmus back to South Africa, and the latest signs suggest that the governing body has finally sealed the deal.
According to a Sunday Times report, Erasmus will be returning to take up a ‘hands-on director of rugby’ role, which could effectively see current head coach Allister Coetzee reporting to him as the highest-ranking coach in the country.
The Irish Independent also reported on Monday that Munster were preparing for Erasmus’ departure, and that he had triggered the six-months’ notice clause in his contract, which would allow him to take up the offer from SA Rugby. It’s believed that defence guru Jacques Nienaber would follow Erasmus back to the Boks.
The lucrative deal presented to Erasmus is expected to enable him to effectively take control of the Springboks, while developing playing styles and driving a process to standardise skills throughout SA rugby.
Erasmus initially signed a three-year contract with Munster and the IRFU (Ireland Rugby Football Union) in 2016, and has quickly helped revive the fortunes of the Irish club, who have reached this season’s Champions Cup semi-finals, as well as the Pro12 final. The former Cheetahs boss was also named Pro12 coach of the year.
If Erasmus has indeed enforced his six-month exit clause from Munster, it’s likely that he will move into his position at the helm of Bok rugby from 2018.
It would undoubtedly be a boost for the Boks to have someone of Erasmus’ experience taking control of the national team, with the Springboks having dramatically slipped down the world rankings last year after losing eight Tests out of 12.
Nienaber is also a highly respected defence coach, and may ultimately take over from Brendan Venter, who is effectively working on an ad hoc basis with the Boks at the moment.
African News Agency