Rassie Erasmus allays Munster fears with vow to stay

Rassie Erasmus is definitely staying on as Munster director of rugby having finally ended the speculation he was about to leave the province just a season into his three-year contract.

Rassie Erasmus allays Munster fears with vow to stay

It only took one word in the affirmative to close the door on fears stoked for more than a month following reports in his native South Africa that the 44-year-old was being lined up to resume his job as high-performance general manager at the SARU.

And it came in the wake of Munster’s 26-10 Champions Cup semi-final defeat to Saracens at Aviva Stadium on Saturday evening, a point in the European calendar few including Erasmus himself, predicted the province could reach when he assumed control last summer, brought in to work with head coach Anthony Foley as the Reds’ first director of rugby.

Outlining what Munster would need to do to reach the next level and challenge the likes of Saracens and other European big guns for silverware, the former Springbok flanker was asked whether he will around to oversee the development along with defence coach and fellow South African Jacques Nienaber and homegrown assistants Jerry Flannery and Felix Jones.

Question: Will you be here?

Erasmus: “Yes. Hopefully. You mean trying to get the winning culture going?

Q: In the next few years?

Erasmus: “Yes, yes, yes, yes.”

Q: Definitely staying?

Erasmus: “Yes.”

Erasmus had been given plenty of opportunity in previous weeks to allay concerns within Munster that he was set to head home and when asked on Saturday whether this marked the end of the speculation he replied with a look of surprise and smile: “I’ve never been speculating about this.”

Regardless of the way he has dealt with the matter in public, Munster players have known for some time of their boss’s intentions, as hooker Niall Scannell revealed.

“Rassie told us he was staying on so the speculation wasn’t really in our camp,” Scannell said.

“But I can’t speak highly enough of himself and Jacques and then you’re looking at Jerry Flannery and Felix Jones, they just epitomise what Munster is about.

"They’re two fellas who on the field were warriors and they drive the standards now, and Jacques is the same, and I just can’t speak highly enough of what they’ve done.

“That’s where we’ve come to now. Obviously, Axel had a huge hand in it as well, in terms of the squad he got together and the belief he showed.

“It’s not a surprise to us but it would have been such a huge blow if he did leave because he’s such a good coach. His forward planning is unbelievable, sometimes I wonder if he has a crystal ball.

"We were watching Northampton-Saracens last week and Northampton were doing really well and he said ‘60 minutes now, this is where Saracens are going to turn the screw’ and it was like he’d seen the future.

"That’s exactly what they did. We were prepared for that but they still did it and we found it hard to counteract.

“Yeah, it’s brilliant news that Rassie’s staying on. It’s probably not any breaking news to us but it’s brilliant.”

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