According to Rassie Erasmus, there is not necessarily a fire where there is an Irish smoke.
There has been frequent speculation in the media recently that the World Cup-winning coach will soon follow on Jacques Nienaber’s heels: After all, the road to Ireland beckons where he can fill David Nucifora’s shoes as the Irish’s high-performance manager.
The 50-year-old Nienaber indicated earlier that the World Cup tournament in France will be his last matches as head coach of the Springboks. He will join Leinster’s coaching group after the international rugby spectacle.
“No, I’m not going (to Ireland),” Erasmus said during a media session on Monday.
“There have been no discussions yet and there is no truth in the rumours. I don’t know where it started, but I’m not following Jacques to Ireland,” said SA Rugby’s (Saru) director of rugby.
In 2019, Erasmus was at the helm of the Springbok team that lifted the Webb Ellis trophy in Yokohama. Since then he has been pulling the strings as SA Rugby’s director of rugby.
Rian Oberholzer confirmed earlier that Erasmus will remain part of the Springbok set-up for another season or two.
“We will soon appoint a new Springbok coach (in Nienaber’s place), but Rassie Erasmus is part of the set-up until at least 2025,” Saru’s temporary chief executive said at the time.
For now, Erasmus and co’s full attention is on the Springboks’ World Cup campaign in France where an important group game against Ireland awaits the team.
The former Springbok was Munster’s coach for a few seasons and he knows that the Irish are tough rugby opponents.
“We will have to work hard and give everything on the field. In addition to Ireland’s good attacking and defensive structures, they are also technically very correct,” he said.
He singled out the experienced Johnny Sexton as one of the Irish’s danger men.
“When I was at Munster we only faced Leinster once. When Johnny is in the team, things happen on the field and he not only has an influence on his own team, but also on his opponents.”
Still, Rassie Erasmus will always be ready to pull a rabbit out of the hat for the Springboks.
It’s not even altemit.