Tuesday 17 October 2017

Erasmus: League's new teams will deliver

Rassie Erasmus. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Rassie Erasmus. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

John Fallon

It's an issue which could become his problem before the season is out, but Rassie Erasmus is confident that the two South African teams drafted into the PRO14 will deliver despite an horrendous start.

He will leave Munster in mid-season to become director of rugby in South Africa and by then there could be an issue to deal with if the Southern Kings and the Cheetahs don't improve.

Erasmus oversaw Munster's 51-18 demolition of the Cheetahs on Saturday, just a week after the Bloemfontein outfit were thrashed 42-19 in Belfast.

The Southern Kings, who at least have the excuse that their side was only cobbled together with few survivors from Super Rugby, followed up a 57-10 loss to champions Scarlets in Llanelli with a 32-10 loss in Galway.

Now there are fears that the South Africans, like the two Italian teams brought in seven years ago, might not be competitive.

But Erasmus said it is far too soon to judge their impact and he is confident that they will deliver.

"The Kings have got an awesome really good coach Deon Davids and were on the back foot just purely because the decision was made so late for their inclusion."

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He said that the Cheetahs should be more competitive as they have most of their Super Rugby squad.

"With teams going over to Bloemfontein I have got no doubt they are going to become really, really good and this year already. Definitely no need for panic. When six weeks are gone people can make a fair call and see, are they really competitive this year or not."

Meanwhile, with new signing Gerbrandt Grobler now confirmed out until January with an ankle injury, Erasmus might be in the market for a second-row, not least as the South African lock was signed from Racing 92 to cover for Dave O'Callaghan and Darren O'Shea, both of whom are also out until the new year.

"We have great potential in the academy with Fineen Wycherley, Sean O'Connor and even Seanie McCarthy who is training with us currently. Last year a guy like Dan Goggin put up his hand and played 18 games," added Erasmus, who is also assessing a knee injury to prop Dave Kilcoyne as he prepares for the trip to Wales.

Irish Independent

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