Simon Zebo not fazed by Rassie Erasmus exit fears

Simon Zebo last night described the Munster squad as “a real brotherhood” and maintained that director of rugby Rassie Erasmus has assured players they don’t have to worry about his future.

Simon Zebo not fazed by Rassie Erasmus exit fears

“I’m not concerned at all,” Zebo insisted when the prospect of Erasmus’ potential departure at the end of the season was raised. “Rassie is a real straight-shooter and if there was anything to say, he would have said it. We have no issues over speculation we can’t control. Whatever has gone on, I’m sure something was taken out of context. That’s what happens when you’re in a big job or when you are wanted for a big job. We are very much focused on the next few weeks because they are going to be massive for our season.

“The full length of his contract, I don’t know, he has a family and things like that. I can’t comment on him wanting eventually to go back to South Africa, whether that’s in 10 years’ time or two years time.

“Having said that, he knows we have heard all this speculation and all these rumours and he has assured us that we have nothing to worry about.”

As if to muddy the waters a little bit, however, Zebo admitted that Erasmus hasn’t directly brought the matter up with the squad.

“Not really. The senior players’ group know what’s going on and things trickle down and filter down... the organisation’s in a good place, we have come on in leaps and bounds as a squad.

“Whether he leaves or stays wouldn’t hinder us as much as is being made out. He is putting great foundations in place and the players have really bought into it and are driving it on.”

Zebo’s adventurous style of play hasn’t always sat comfortably with a range of coaches, most notably Ireland’s Joe Schmidt who was slow to include him when it seemed the most obvious course of action.

The fact that Erasmus has invariably emphasised the positives and worked on improving the negatives means Zebo is a great admirer of the South African and clearly wishes him to stay in situ.

“Rassie is a class act and one of the best coaches I’ve ever had. How he gets players up for games is incredible and something I haven’t dealt with before. His consistency in bringing the best out of people is the best I’ve ever dealt with.

“If you look at the run of games we’ve had and some of the wins that we shouldn’t have won, a lot of that is down to Rassie. A lot of the credit has to go to Jacques Nienaber as well. They’re both very similar men with great rugby brains. Their reaction when we make mistakes is incredible, brilliant. There is absolutely no fear whatsoever.

“Jacques would be the first person to say if you’re going to miss a tackle give it 100% and who cares if you miss it. You say, good man, you stepped me, but I’ll get you next time, you know.

“And it’s the same in attack if you want to try an offload. Look at fellas like Darren Sweetnam and these guys coming through, he’s playing with no fear and it’s great because they are really allowed to express themselves.

“The squad has bought into it and we are all playing with the same confidence. There is no fear over going into a dressing room or a meeting room on that Monday.

“I don’t think anybody individually has been called out in a meeting which is great. It is a real brotherhood and everybody is a part of it.”

Life Style Sports, exclusive retail partners to Munster Rugby, yesterday announced details of their Ultimate Fan Experience competition. Simon Zebo was on hand to reveal details of the unique prize, which will see the winner secure a seat in the Munster dugout for the club’s PRO12 clash against Ulster on April 15. Further information and entry details can be found on the Life Style Sports Facebook page.

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