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Erasmus wants Springbok defence coach at Munster as clearout begins


Johann ‘Rassie’ Erasmus

Johann ‘Rassie’ Erasmus

Johann ‘Rassie’ Erasmus

Johan ‘Rassie’ Erasmus will be appointed as Munster’s new director of rugby this afternoon as part of a major shake-up at the province that could see him lure South Africa’s defence coach to the province.

Erasmus has spent much of the last week in Ireland, meeting with members of the Munster staff and preparing for his new job which is likely to see him joined by long-term colleague and friend Jacques Nienaber.

Chief executive Garrett Fitzgerald will confirm the arrival of the former Springbok this afternoon as the organisation respond to a desperately disappointing season on the field at Thomond Park.

With reports in South Africa suggesting Anthony Foley could be a casualty of the regime change, today’s announcement is expected to see the departure of the majority of the backroom staff confirmed, with assistant coach Ian Costello set to join English Championship side Nottingham as Brian Walsh and Mick O’Driscoll are expected to leave.

It is understood the province would like to retain the services of scrum coach Jerry Flannery, but it remains to be seen if the former Ireland hooker will continue in his role.

Where that leaves Foley is the big question today. The man who led Munster to their first Heineken Cup in 2006 has endured an unhappy two seasons at the helm and is in serious danger of missing out on Champions Cup next season.

He took up the option of extending his contract until 2017 earlier this year and he is expected to fulfill that commitment.

Erasmus is expected to bring Springboks defence coach Jacques Nienaber with him when he takes over.

The South Africans played together at the Cheetahs and have worked together on several previous occasions, most recently as part of the South African rugby union where Erasmus was head of high performance and his former teammate was defence coach to the team that reached last year’s World Cup semi-final.

SARU want to retain Nienabar’s services as they transition from Heyneke Meyer to Allister Coetzee ahead of Ireland’s three-Test tour this June, but Munster appear to be edging the battle for his signature.

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Erasmus will be the province's first director of rugby. He brings with him an impressive CV that includes successful stints with the Cheetahs and Stormers followed by his high-powered role as South Africa's high performance manager.

A former international, he was in the running for the Springbok job, but withdrew from the process and reports in South Africa suggest he has grown tired of the political infighting that is prevalent in the union there.

He faces a daunting task at Munster who need victory over Edinburgh at Irish Independent Park this Friday to keep their hopes of Champions Cup rugby alive for next season.

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