Munster’s recent revival is set to face a massive blow soon, as it looks as though Rassie Erasmus is set to depart.
The Director of Rugby has been the catalyst for the run which has seen the province top the Pro 12 table and earn a home Champions Cup spot, but according to South African-based Netwerk24, he could return home as early as this summer.
The media platform has it on very good authority from Rapport magazine that negotiations between Munster and the South African Rugby Union (SARU) are at an advanced stage and a deal looks set to be struck in the near future.
The deal would return Erasmus to his previous position of Director of Rugby of the SARU, a post he left abruptly almost a year ago after a reported falling-out with president Oregan Hoskins, soon after Allister Coetzee was appointed head coach.
Hoskins has since left the post, clearing the way for a potential return for Erasmus.
The report suggests that the former flanker would have significant control of the Springboks at all levels, with the setup in need of a radical overhaul after a run of form that has seen them slip to a record-low of seventh in the World Rugby rankings, confirming their place among the second seeds in the 2019 World Cup pool draw and potentially setting up a potential group clash with the All Blacks.
Indeed, SARU’s initial plan was to entice Erasmus to take the mantle of head coach, and while Coetzee was instead given a stay of execution, that could all change depending on the outcome of their summer test series against France.
For Munster, meanwhile, to lose their coach, at this point of the year especially when there are not many free agents available, would be massively inconvenient.
Neither Munster nor the SARU have commented on the matter at this time, and with a Champions Cup quarter-final against Toulouse next weekend to prepare for, confirmation that Erasmus is departing is unlikely to be forthcoming before then.
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