Victor Matfield, a renowned Springbok legend, has shared his belief that Rassie Erasmus is on the verge of departing from his current position as SA Rugby Director of Rugby.
According to Matfield, Erasmus is poised to assume a similar role in Ireland after the conclusion of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.
This speculation aligns with previous reports that indicated Erasmus had been shortlisted as a potential replacement for David Nucifora in the Ireland Rugby Football Union’s (IRFU) performance director role.
Nienaber’s Career Move
Jacques Nienaber, a long-time coaching partner of Erasmus, is set to step down from his role as Springbok head coach following the World Cup.
Nienaber will continue his career at Leinster, taking on the position of a senior coach previously held by Stuart Lancaster.
Matfield sees this as a strong indicator that Erasmus is likely to return to Ireland, where he had previously served as Munster’s head coach with Nienaber as his assistant.
The Possibility of Erasmus’ Departure
Matfield suggests that the close working relationship between Erasmus and Nienaber makes it highly probable that Erasmus will join the IRFU, possibly staying on for a few months in his current role to facilitate a smooth transition.
The former Springbok captain estimates the likelihood of Erasmus moving to Ireland to be between 90% and 95%.
Changing of the Guard
With Erasmus potentially leaving his current position, Matfield anticipates a significant change within the Springbok coaching setup.
He expresses surprise at this prospect, as he initially believed one of Erasmus’ assistants could seamlessly assume the head coaching role if Erasmus remained in South Africa.
Matfield mentions two potential candidates for the position: Johan Ackermann, who has been coaching in Japan and has performed well with Bath, and Johann van Graan, who has extensive experience with the Boks as an assistant coach and currently coaches in Bath.
Victor Matfield’s insights into Rassie Erasmus’ potential move to Ireland provide an interesting perspective on the evolving landscape of international rugby coaching.
Erasmus’ departure would not only mark a significant change in the Springbok coaching setup but also reflect the allure of opportunities abroad for experienced coaches.
Matfield’s assessment of potential successors highlights the depth of coaching talent in South Africa and the importance of continuity within the national team.
As the rugby world eagerly anticipates developments in Erasmus’ career, this speculation underscores the global nature of rugby coaching and its impact on national teams.