Wednesday 25 April 2018

Munster respond to reports Rassie Erasmus will be leaving for South Africa earlier than planned

Rassie Erasmus and (inset) Van Graan
Rassie Erasmus and (inset) Van Graan
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Munster are insisting that their coaching transition will go ahead as planned despite strong reports in South Africa that Rassie Erasmus will take up his position with SARU on November 1.

New head coach Johann van Graan is set to take over when his work permit is approved in mid-November and the province expect to have a handover period between the two compatriots as soon as that happens.

Erasmus was scheduled to leave the province to take over as the union's director of rugby on December 31, but always said that he could exit earlier if a replacement was found.

Van Graan's appointment was confirmed this week, but Munster expect Erasmus to work with his replacement to ensure a "seemless handover".

A spokesperson for the province today told independent.ie that "there is nothing different to report from our side, it remains the case that Rassie and Johann will have a handover period subject to the work permit being obtained, which we hope will be by mid-November".

South African outlet Netwerk24.com are reporting that the release clause Erasmus triggered in his Munster contract which was due to come into effect on December 31, will now be activated on October 31 now that the province have found his replacement.

"Rassie will start working at SA Rugby on 1 November," his lawyer, Frikkie Erasmus, told Netwerk24.

Munster play host to the Dragons on November 4 and then have a two-week break during the autumn internationals before they take on Zebre in what is likely to be van Graan's first game in charge on the last weekend of November.

With the Springboks touring Europe and playing against Ireland on November 11, it could be the case that Erasmus combines the two roles before handing over to van Graan on a full-time basis.

Erasmus will likely provide further clarity on the timeline of his departure after Sunday's Champions Cup clash with Castres.

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