Springboks director of rugby Rassie Erasmus has ruled out a post-Rugby World Cup switch to Ireland.
Irish Rugby’s current performance director David Nucifora is set to leave the organisation in 2024 and Erasmus’ name has been linked with the future vacancy.
Erasmus knows Ireland well having coached Munster from 2016 to 2017. His contract with SA Rugby is up in 2025 but he told the media on Monday he has no plans to follow Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber to Ireland after this year’s Rugby World Cup.
– RUGBY WORLD CUP 2023: Squads | Schedule | Standings | Podcast | Injuries
Nienaber will take on the role of senior coach at Leinster after the end of this tournament, but it looks like Erasmus won’t be following him anytime soon.
“No, I won’t be,” Erasmus said when asked whether he’d be taking up a role with Ireland. “There have been no talks and there is no truth in that. I am not sure where it started but definitely not. I haven’t chatted to them and I am definitely not following Jacques [Nienaber].”
Rumours of Erasmus’ possible departure were fuelled by comments made by ex-Springboks lock Victor Matfield, who said on The Rugby Pod last week: “It sounds like Rassie is going. He might stay for a few months just to get things in place.
“But knowing Rassie, knowing Jacques, those two do everything together. ‘So I think the chances of him going to Ireland must be close to 90 to 95 per cent. The two of them always work together.”
While Erasmus has tried to distance himself from those rumours, he has conclusively ruled out any chance of Handre Pollard playing for the Boks against Ireland this weekend. The two teams face each other in Paris on Saturday in a mouth-watering clash with both sides having won their opening two matches at the World Cup so far.
Rugby World Cup Daily: Fiji’s Rugby Championship claims are fast becoming irresistible
Why England won’t lose sleep over ugly win vs. Japan at Rugby World Cup
Boks call Pollard to RWC squad; in for Marx
Ireland are top of Pool B as they have back-to-back bonus point victories to their name — thanks to a 82-6 win over Romania and 59-16 triumph over Tonga — while the Boks are on nine points, after a 18-3 win over Scotland and 76-0 destruction of Romania on Sunday.
Pollard was called up by the Springboks on Sunday as an injury replacement for hooker Malcolm Marx. But Pollard won’t be rushed in having only recently recovered from injury.
“No, [Pollard] will not be selected for this week apart from if we get two or three injuries,” Erasmus said. “He has only just joined us today, he has just played his first 40 minutes in 14-15 weeks for Leicester on Friday and that was the initial reason why we couldn’t bring him to the World Cup because there was a lot of return to training that wasn’t done and return to play.
“It’s good to have him here, now he will get up to our intensity of training sessions. Slot in nicely. We have only played two games this World Cup, I’m sure somewhere we will use him but not this weekend.”