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Johan Erasmus is chosen to lead the Munster revival

By Jonathan Bradley

Munster have moved to confirm that Johan Erasmus will fill their newly-created director of rugby role this summer.

The former South African international's appointment was long-rumoured and he will leave his position as General Manager High Performance of South African rugby for a three-year deal in Limerick.

Capped 36-times, the 43-year-old's recruitment is the headline news of a dramatic shake-up intended to revive the fortunes of the struggling province.

Facing a must-win game against Edinburgh on Friday night to qualify for the Champions Cup next season, head coach Anthony Foley will stay in his current role, but his assistant Ian Costello will leave Munster to take up a position as head coach with English Championship side Nottingham while technical advisor Mick O'Driscoll will also be leaving Thomond Park.

No decision has been reached on the futures of scrum coach Jerry Flannery or attack coach Brian Walsh.

Commenting on the appointment of Erasmus, Garrett Fitzgerald, Munster Rugby CEO said: "In recruiting Rassie we are securing the services of a world-class individual who was the stand out candidate for this newly created position.

"The director of rugby role will lead Munster's senior team, academy and coaches to deliver Munster's strategic plan with ultimate responsibility for team performance and results."

Elsewhere the provinces received mixed injury news ahead of the penultimate Pro12 weekend of the season.

Stuart McCloskey is fit after the shoulder injury that saw him miss Ulster's game with Zebre two weeks ago and should return against Leinster on Saturday.

Leinster's backs coach Girvan Dempsey said yesterday that it was possible Irish flanker Sean O'Brien would feature in the same game but Connacht were dealt a double blow ahead of their clash with Treviso.

Prop Denis Buckley sustained an ankle fracture in training while influential centre Bundee Aki faces a race against time to be back for the visit of Glasgow next weekend.

Meanwhile, Saracens' Owen Farrell faces a nervous wait to see if he will be free to faceRacing 92 in the Champions Cup final next month. The out-half was cited for a dangerous tackle on opposing scrum-half Dan Robson during the semi-final victory over Wasps.

Belfast Telegraph


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