Tuesday 21 November 2017

Erasmus praise for Wessels amid Munster speculation

David Wessels, coach of the Western Force. Photo: Getty Images
David Wessels, coach of the Western Force. Photo: Getty Images

Declan Rooney

Rassie Erasmus says he will vouch for Dave Wessels' character if Munster inquire if his former consultant is suitable to replace him at the province.

Wessels (36) is rumoured to be in Ireland this week to interview for the director of rugby position with Munster, and Erasmus said he 'would be one of the good fits' for the role.

Wessels had been head coach at Western Force in Super Rugby for the last season and a half, but since the side was culled in the downsizing of the competition, he has been heavily linked to be Tony McGahan's replacement at Melbourne Rebels.

According to Erasmus, Wessels remains in contention for the Munster position and that he is certain no one has yet been offered the job, but that his former consultant analyst at Stormers would fit the bill.

"Obviously the guys have asked my opinion about him and that is my involvement, just an opinion. I am not involved further," said Erasmus.

"I don't know how far along the line it is. His name was in the mix in July and there are a few names I saw, so I think he is one of a few good candidates. I'm not sure how close they are really to finalising that, but he is one of the good options.

"I know him really well. He was defence coach at the Brumbies, head coach at the Force. He is an intelligent guy, I can vouch for his character.

"There are so many guys who would be good fits because lots of guys want to be at this club. I can vouch for his character, I worked with him and (can vouch for) his work ethic.

"But I don't know with whom he is actually competing at the end. There might be great characters as well, but he would be one of the good fits."

Despite his tender years, Erasmus thinks Wessels is well qualified for the position due to the changing environment of rugby, and due to the perfect timing around Wessels' availability and his history with Erasmus, he could also be eased into the set-up.

December has been cited as the approximate end of Erasmus' time in the province, but with South Africa due to play Ireland in November, and after their 57-0 hammering to New Zealand at the weekend, Erasmus must be keen to get a head start on his director or rugby job with the Springboks.

But he would not give his analysis on that defeat, only the fifth time in their history that South Africa have been kept scoreless in a Test match.

"I didn't watch the game in detail. Obviously, we were playing a match four or five hours later. I know the worst thing is when you are a coach for someone else to comment on a performance.

"I hated when you didn't have a great game and some other coaches are asked to quote on that. I don't think it is my place to quote. Obviously it is a disappointing result. The whole of South Africa will be hurting, so will the coaches and the players.

"Me not knowing exactly what the plan was and what the opposition did it would be so stupid to comment on that from my side. It would not be the right thing to do because I might have it totally wrong."

After a tight win over Ospreys at the weekend, Munster claimed a third win from three games to top their conference, but this Friday they will receive their sternest test of the season to date when they travel to Scotstoun to face the other unbeaten team in their pool Glasgow Warriors.

Their preparations for that game have been boosted with a return to fitness of JJ Hanrahan, who could be poised to make his second debut for the province after his return from a spell with Northampton Saints, while Duncan Casey and Sam Arnold have also returned to full training.

"There is really nothing too serious to worry about. Because of the five-day turnaround today we have more of an indoor session; it's more just because of the five-day turnaround and playing on a fast pitch on Friday.

"There is no real concern this week that should keep anybody out of the game on Friday."

Irish Independent

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