• Home
  • /
  • Rugby
  • /
  • Rassie Erasmus Still Carries Doubts Over Decision To Leave Munster

Rassie Erasmus Still Carries Doubts Over Decision To Leave Munster

Rassie Erasmus Still Carries Doubts Over Decision To Leave Munster
By Colman Stanley Updated
Share this article

When Rassie Erasmus arrived in Munster back in 2016, the casual fan would not have been too familiar with the larger-than-life South African, who had had success as a flanker for his home country, before head coaching stints with the likes of the Stormers, Cheetahs, and being part of the backroom staff with the Springboks.

However, word quickly got round the relevant circles that he was a man with big ideas, and seen as a big loss to South African rugby.

It was soon evident that Munster had hired a rugby mastermind, who, along with the late Anthony Foley, brought them a year of success not seen since last season's URC winning campaign.

In his new book, 'Rassie', he details his days as as Director of Rugby and head coach at Munster, which were defined by two fiercely tough events: the tragic passing of Anthony Foley, and his decision to leave the province after just a year at the club.

Rassie Erasmus And His Days At Munster

28 September 2016; Munster head coach Anthony Foley, left, and director of rugby Rassie Erasmus during Munster Rugby Squad Training at University of Limerick in Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

READ HERE: Report: Rassie Erasmus In Line For Shock Return To Ireland


When describing the death of Foley, he admits that in his shock he 'very stupidly' suggested to keep the information from the players as to not distract them from their match against Racing later that day.

Team manager Niall O'Donovan quickly put him straight, asking him 'are you fucking crazy?'

Erasmus then goes onto wax lyrical about his love for the Irish culture and their appreciation of life, and the special nature of the Irish funeral and month's mind, with both occasions bookended by a trip to the pub.


It was this deep affection for Ireland and Munster that made it so tough for Rassie to make a life-changing choice that came out of the blue.

5 November 2022; South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus, right, in conversation with Ireland assistant coach Mike Catt before the Bank of Ireland Nations Series match between Ireland and South Africa at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

When the Springboks came in with an offer to become their Director of Rugby, he knew that the opportunity may not arise again, and, as someone who had a lot to say about the running of the team over the years, it was time to put his money where his mouth was.

Of course he had to bring his right hand man Jacques Nienanber with him, having convinced him to make the move to Munster in the first place.

His and Jacques' wives needed convincing, as did their children, but eventually they came to the collective decision to move back home.


Despite leaving so soon and the need to get out of his contract, Munster and and David Nucifora were extremely accommodating, because, in Erasmus' words, 'they're fucking good people'.

The difficulty of his decision to leave Munster is summed up by the fact that despite leading his country to the World Cup in 2019, and having a good chance to repeat in a couple of months, he still wonders whether he made the correct choice.

'I knew it was a good deal,' he writes in his book.


But it was heart breaking to leave Munster. Even now I get so hartseer when I see pictures of Castleconnell and our beautiful home next to the river Shannon.

I started to doubt myself. I was putting my balls out there because now my vision for the Springboks was going to be tested. I had been talking the big game for so long and the plan I was so sure about was soon to become a reality and be tested.

Even now I still don't know if it was the best decision for my family to leave Ireland.

With Nienaber coming to Leinster as head coach at the conclusion of the World Cup, and Erasmus reported to be in the running to replace David Nucifora in the IRFU, we may be seeing both back on the Emerald Isle in the near future.

SEE ALSO: Rugby World Cup 2023: 5 Trends That Will Decide Who Lifts The Webb Ellis Cup

Join The Monday Club Have a tip or something brilliant you wanted to share on? We're looking for loyal Balls readers free-to-join members club where top tipsters can win prizes and Balls merchandise

Processing your request...

You are subscribed now!

Share this article

Copyright © 2023. All rights reserved. Developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com