Sunday 20 May 2018

Munster edge closer to Erasmus deal as Ulster confirm Coetzee injury blow


Ulster Director of Rugby Les Kiss. Photo: Oliver McVeigh / Sportsfile
Ulster Director of Rugby Les Kiss. Photo: Oliver McVeigh / Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Munster are understood to be close to finalising a deal with Johan 'Rassie' Erasmus to become the club's new director of rugby from next season.

Erasmus has held talks with Munster as well as Harlequins but the former Springbok is said to favour a move to the Irish province.

Quins are also searching for a new director of rugby as they look to replace Conor O'Shea who last month signed a deal to become Italy's coach for the next four years.

As revealed in yesterday's Irish Independent, Erasmus has emerged as the leading candidate to take up the newly-created role and having held talks with Munster, he is keen on the move.

Erasmus will leave his post as South Africa's general manager of high performance this summer and after reportedly pulling out of the race to become the Springboks' next head coach, he has been short-listed by clubs in both Europe and Japan.

The 43-year-old has previous coaching experience with Super Rugby sides the Cheetahs, the Stormers and Western Province.

Meanwhile, Ulster have been dealt a major blow with the confirmation that their marquee signing Marcell Coetzee has been ruled out for nine months with a knee injury.

The South African flanker, who was due to arrive in Ireland this summer, was stretchered off playing for the Sharks on Saturday and he will require surgery on his anterior cruciate ligament.

"It's an unfortunate incident," said director of rugby Les Kiss. "We've been in touch with him but we'll let that take its course and worry about what's in front of us here and now."

Despite some reports to the contrary, the team's Operations Manager Bryn Cunningham moved to assure supporters that Coetzee will still join up with the team as planned, even if his bow will be somewhat delayed.

"I have been speaking with both Marcell and his agent over the weekend to express our sympathy with the injury, first and foremost," said the 1999 European Cup winner.

"It is incredibly unlucky but unfortunately it is the nature of any contact sport."

Irish Independent

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