Munster have confirmed that Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus is leaving the province.
The South African is returning home to take up a role as SARU Director of Rugby.
In a statement released on Friday morning, Munster announced that the 44-year-old will officially depart at the end of December.
Erasmus arrived at Munster last summer on a three-year deal to take up the job as the first ever Director of Rugby at Thomond Park. He piloted the province through a turbulent season which saw the tragic death of head coach Anthony Foley. It was also a season which featured a Munster resurgence as they progressed to the Champions Cup semi-final and the Pro12 final.
Unfortunately for Munster, highly-regarded defence coach Jacques Nienaber will be leaving with Erasmus.
CEO Garrett Fitzgerald said all at Munster are disappointed to see Erasmus and Nienaber leave.
With the squad and management returning for preseason this week we can today confirm that Rassie and Jacques will return to South Africa.
While we understand Erasmus’ reason to return to his home country for an opportunity as the national director of rugby we are disappointed to see him and Jacques both leave. Working closely with both I witnessed first-hand the work that they do, and we will always be grateful to Rassie for leading the squad through our most difficult time with the untimely passing of Axel (Anthony Foley).
Fitzgerald added that it is a situation with which Munster have experience. In 2008, two-time Heineken Cup-winning head coach Declan Kidney departed to become Ireland head coach.
We have been in this position before, whereby our coach has been offered a national role and we are not going to stand in the way of someone in that regard. We understand Rassie’s decision, and all parties are working together in managing the situation.
I believe we are in a positive place and I don’t think there will be any doubts around what we can achieve and go on to do. We’ll continue to learn from both coaches and progress with putting the structures and processes in place in making sure we are a side performing and competing at the highest level.
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