Munster’s director or rugby Johan ‘Rassie’ Erasmus has been the subject of much speculation in recent weeks over a potential move back to South Africa to take over as head coach of the floundering national side.
Under new head coach Allister Coetzee, the Springboks endured a difficult and disappointing 2016. With Erasmus guiding Munster into the last eight of the European Champions Cup and to the summit of the Pro 12 table, reports emerged that the SARU were set to tap the Limerick based South African for the top job back home.
Having already addressed speculation only last month, the continued interest in the story has led to Erasmus taking steps to put an end to the speculation, once and for all.
Reported by the Independent, Rassie dismissed any suggestion that he is to leave Munster. Speaking to the media ahead of Munster’s Pro 12 clash with the Dragons, the South African is clear.
“There is so much speculation with things normally at this time of the year with players, but I just think the South African set-up is obviously going through a little bit of a rough patch which they will definitely get out of, I am pretty sure they will.
“When that happens there is always a lot of speculation around different coaches. I am definitely not in the mix there.”
In the first year of a three year contract with the province, Erasmus’ statement should finally allay the fears of Munster fan. Having taken over from the late great Anthony Foley in October, Rassie has continued what Foley started and returned the proud side to their rightful place at Europe’s top table.
With a crucial set of Pro 12 fixtures ahead, Erasmus must contend with the absence of numerous stars away on international duty at the Six Nations. Speculation over his future is a distraction he, nor his side, need.
Hopefully now the rumours have finally been put to bed.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena
This week’s edition of The Oval Office, we discuss all things Six Nations with George Hook, Paul Williams from Rugby World magazine and former Ireland u-20 international Adam McBurney.