Munster Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus has confirmed that he has spoken to the South African Rugby Union regarding a potential return to his homeland.
Reports in South Africa over the weekend had suggested that the SARU had endeavoured to bring Erasmus back to his previous post as director of rugby over there. In fact, so convinced were the sources that this deal was happening that they suggested that talks were at an advanced stage.
Speaking to the media on Monday ahead of Munster’s Champions Cup clash with Toulouse this weekend, Erasmus did confirm that talks had taken place on both a formal and informal basis, but as things stood his commitment was still to his contract with the province.
“I worked and lived in South Africa as a coach for 16 years and I speak to them weekly, on a formal and informal basis, but at this stage I have a full contract which is three years and it’s just speculation.
“I’m big friends with the current coaches and management team.
“There’s been formal and informal chats the past few months. Some have been requests, some have been pure chats.
“It’s just speculation at this stage. I’ve got a contract with the IRFU and nothing’s changing.”
While Munster fans will be happy that Erasmus has reaffirmed his commitment to the cause, that the SARU are even talking to him at all must be a source of worry. The Springboks’ form has taken a serious nosedive in the past year, and has resulted in their lowest ever World Rugby ranking and a spot amongst the second seeds in the pool draw for the 2019 World Cup.
With speculation brewing that they cannot afford to fire head coach Allister Coetzee, rehiring Erasmus to the post he left almost a year ago and giving him greater control of South African international rugby at all levels could be seen as an easier way for a less transparent transition of power to take place.
Being in a financial position to be abe to buy the former flanker out of his contract remains a huge obstacle but if they found themselves in a position to do that then the possibility of Munster losing Erasmus would become an even bigger one.
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