Thursday 26 April 2018

Munster blow as target Wessels opts to join Rebels

 

Dave Wessels. Photo: Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images
Dave Wessels. Photo: Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Munster's search for a new coach has taken a fresh twist after favourite David Wessels turned down the chance to move to Thomond Park in favour of remaining in Australia to join the Melbourne Rebels.

Out of work after the Western Force were disbanded, the South African was in Limerick for a second interview last week and was publicly endorsed for the job by departing director of rugby Rassie Erasmus who described him as a "good fit".

However, Wessels has opted to take up a contract with the Super Rugby franchise and has spoken about how he wanted to repay the faith those running Australian rugby have shown in him.

"From a loyalty perspective, the position I'm In I owe it in large part to the people within Australian rugby," he told 'The Australian'. "I feel that if I turned my back on Australia now I would live the rest of my life wondering where it could have ended up."

IRFU performance director David Nucifora said on Tuesday that an appointment was imminent, but added the caveat: "In any negotiation things can move at the last minute, you never quite know until it's done but we feel that we're close".

Munster's next move will be closely watched with the clock ticking on Erasmus's departure after Christmas.

Meanwhile, Leinster coach Leo Cullen yesterday said Jamie Heaslip could face a second operation on his back injury.

"I'm not sure," he said when asked when the No 8 will return to action. "It will depend if he has to go for another procedure or not. He has to weigh that up with the specialist."

 

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