Belfast Telegraph

Coach handover period confirmed by Munster


By Ruaidhri O'Connor

Munster insist their coaching transition will go ahead as planned despite strong reports in South Africa that Rassie Erasmus will take up his position with South African Rugby Union on November 1.

New head coach Johann van Graan is set to take over when his work permit is approved in mid-November and the province expect to have a handover period between the two compatriots as soon as that happens.

Erasmus was scheduled to leave the province to take over as the union's director of rugby on December 31, but always said that he could exit earlier if a replacement was found.

Van Graan's appointment was confirmed this week, but Munster expect Erasmus to work with him to ensure a "seemless handover".

A spokesperson for the province said: "It remains the case that Rassie and Johann will have a handover period subject to the work permit being obtained, which we hope will be by mid-November".

South African outlet Netwerk24. com are reporting that the release clause Erasmus triggered in his Munster contract which was due to come into effect on December 31, will now be activated on October 31 now that they have found his replacement.

"Rassie will start working at SA Rugby on 1 November," his lawyer, Frikkie Erasmus said.

Munster play host to the Dragons on November 4 and then have a two-week break before they face Zebre.

This is likely to be van Graan's first game.

With the Springboks touring Europe and playing against Ireland on November 11, it could be the case that Erasmus combines the two roles before handing over to van Graan on a full-time basis.

Erasmus will likely provide further clarity on the timeline of his departure after tomorrow's Champions Cup clash with Castres.

Meanwhile, former Ireland Women's No 8 Joy Neville will be an assistant referee at a men's international for the first time next month when the Barbarians face Tonga on November 10, before assisting at the clashes between Canada and Spain and France's versus Japan.

New Zealander Ben O'Keeffe takes charge of Ireland's meeting with South Africa, while Paul Williams will ref Ireland v Fiji and Mathieu Raynal officiates at Ireland v Argentina.

Belfast Telegraph

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