Munster Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus made up his mind to return to his native South Africa months before an official announcement to that effect was made.
The Irish province confirmed at the end of June that Erasmus and coach Jacques Nienaber would be leaving later in the year having invoked get-out clauses in their contracts, but IRFU chief executive confirmed on Friday night that the pair had actually invoked said clauses in March, meaning that they gave nine months notice rather than six as had previously thought.
Speaking at the IRFU’s AGM, Philip Browne shed light on the situation:
“There was a nine-month clause in this particular case, Rassie called it and that’s fine. Yes it’s not ideal but David Nucifora and Garrett Fitzgerald are working very closely together to find someone to come in to take up [the coaching reins] when Rassie leaves.
“There have been conversations from the word go. We know our colleagues in South Africa well, we sit with them at meetings; this isn’t like clubs, this is union to union and we respect each other and we behave accordingly.”
via the Irish Times
Rumours regarding Erasmus’ future intensified in the spring, when reports in South Africa suggested that the SARU were pulling out all the stops to bring him back in the wake of the Springboks’ alarmingly poor form.
At the time, Erasmus remained tight-lipped regarding his future but it looks for all the world now that the former flanker was negotiating his departure against the backdrop of Munster’s run to the Champions Cup semi-final.
Browne did confirm, also, that the IRFU would not be changing the way they handled coaching contracts. Former Connacht head coach Pat Lam criticised the six-month termination clause as a big reason for his leaving to join Bristol, but Browne claimed that the clause (either six-month or nine-month) was important to protect all parties:
“I found it hard to understand some of Pat Lam’s comments.
“The fact of the matter is that termination clauses in contracts are there for protection not only of the employee but also for the protection of the employer. That’s negotiated with each coach as they come in and it depends on the risks, associated, the risks they see and equally the risk we might see.”
In any event, the search continues for Munster in their bid to replace Erasmus and make the transition in December as smooth as possible.
[gravityform id=”1″ title=”true” description=”true”]