Rassie Erasmus has triggered the release clause in his Munster contract, and will return to South African rugby. The report was brought to our attention to by Tony Leen of the Irish Examiner, and comes from the weekly newspaper, Rapport.
It states that Erasmus notified Munster of his intention to leave two months ago, meaning he will have left the province in four months time.
The same report claims that Erasmus could be in place for the Springboks' first Rugby Championship match in August:
Due to his strong ties with Munster and the success he has achieved at the province over the past 12 months, Munster is likely to release him as soon as Erasmus has found a suitable substitute for his position. He will then have the opportunity to explain his decision to the Munster players.
His new job will not be as the South African head coach: instead, he will be the Springboks' Director of Rugby. Current coach Allister Coetzee will report to Erasmus, and in a further blow to Munster, his defence coach Jacques Nienaber is expected to return to South Africa also.
It is unsurprising that the Springboks are so eager for Erasmus to return home, as many believe he should have had the job ahead of Coetzee in the first place.
Erasmus had been embedded within the SARU for years: serving as a technical adviser with the World Cup squads of 2007 and 2011 before progressing to the role of General Manager of High Performance in 2012. He was the favourite to succeed Heyneke Meyer in 2015. Erasmus' track record had him at the head of a shortlist of three, which was discussed by the SARU's rugby committee. This committee then removed his name, owing to the intervention of politics, under the transformation rule. This may be one of the reasons as to why Coetzee has been retained.
Erasmus is also in a very good position to return, as journalist Craig Ray explained to us when these reports first surfaced back in January.
Erasmus has done so much work planning for the Springbok job, he did it all in 2016, Erasmus has the Springbook playbook in place all ready, meaning he would only have to dust it off and get back up to speed pretty quickly.
For Erasmus' sake, he will have to: South Africa won just four tests in 2016, and among the defeats was a humbling against Italy in Rome.