MUNSTER – Munster are bracing themselves for the increasing possibility that director of rugby Rassie Erasmus is set to utilise a contract exit clause to return to a role in South African rugby.
Rumours have been swirling around rugby circles for some time that suggests SA Rugby has been intently entering into discussions with Erasmus to bring him back home from Munster.
Although Erasmus has conceded that he has been involved in both “formal and informal chats”, he attempted to dismiss any definitive reports as mere speculation. However, according to The42 website, Munster are now preparing for the possibility that Erasmus is set to depart despite having two more years on his contract.
Erasmus signed a three-year contract with Munster and the IRFU (Ireland Rugby Football Union) in 2016, but it’s believed there is a clause in his contract that would allow him to take up another offer should he provide the necessary notice.
It’s understood that SA Rugby has made an appealing offer for Erasmus to return to South Africa in order to take up a type of ‘director of rugby’ role that would put him in charge of numerous important decision-making processes.
It has also been speculated that Erasmus could also, in fact, take over as head coach should things not go according to plan for the Springboks against France in June. In that scenario, current coach Allister Coetzee may shift into more of an overseeing, managerial-type role that many believe him to be better suited to.
Erasmus has already made a massive impact at Munster, where he has guided the Irish club to the semifinals of the European Champions Cup. Should the former Cheetahs coach now opt to leave Munster, it’s possible that South African defence guru Jacques Nienaber could take over from him at Thomond Park.
Last week, Erasmus discussed his future with members of the Irish media, and intimated that there were means for him to return to SA rugby should he so wish. “I will never go outside my contract and outside the clauses and not honour a contract if there isn’t something stipulated there,” continued Erasmus.
“I have got a standard IRFU contract. Obviously there are some clauses there, the same as Pat Lam had in his contract (which allowed him to leave Connacht for Bristol), but otherwise, it’s the standard IRFU contract.
“I have been talking to them (SA Rugby) … since I have been here. I have been living there (in South Africa) and coaching there the last 16 years, and I know the guys really well.”
African News Agency