Belfast Telegraph

Munster poised to appoint former Western Force man as Head Coach

And a Scarlets forward could soon join the squad

By David Kelly

Munster are poised to confirm former Western Force head coach David Wessels as Rassie Erasmus' successor.

The 36-year-old, who has previously worked with Erasmus as a consultant analyst during the pair's time with the Stormers, is understood to have already been in Limerick for an interview and the province are now ready to get the deal over the line.

The South African has been on the look-out for a new job after the Force were cut from Super Rugby and, although he was linked with the Melbourne Rebels, Munster are believed to have already identified him as the man they want to lead them.

Erasmus is due to return home to South Africa to begin his new role as the Springboks' director of rugby in December and it is expected that Wessels will be in situ in the coming weeks to begin the handover.

The IRFU's performance director David Nucifora confirmed that Munster are currently talking to just one potential candidate and are "close" to confirming the deal.

"Are we getting close to getting someone? Yes we are," Nucifora said. "I'm hopeful we will have an answer to this sooner rather than later.

"You don't usually get that chance, this is a coordinated approach. We've spoken to a number of people over the last number of months. We are well advanced.

"I'd be hopeful that we'd have news for you in the short-term. Hopefully it would be permanent (appointment).

"We're working diligently on it. Yes, we feel we're getting close to doing something but in any negotiation things can move at the last minute, you never quite know until it's done. We're making good progress.

"We've spoken to multiple over a period of time. But at the moment we're talking to one so that's why I can say we are getting closer."

Meanwhile, Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac has paved the way for Tadhg Beirne to confirm that he will soon link up with Munster by conceding that he cannot stand in the way of the versatile forward's imminent departure.

Heading home: Tadhg Beirne is set to sign for Munster. Photo: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The Kildare man, who was released by Leinster two summers ago before helping the Welsh side claim the Guinness PRO12 title in May, is keen for the opportunity to play for Ireland, which won't be immediately realised should he remain overseas.

Initial contact had even been made as far back as last spring, before the play-offs, as the IRFU and Munster upped the ante in their attempts to repatriate the player but they were unsuccessful, with Scarlets refusing to let the player break his contract.

"We would love to keep Tadhg," said Pivac. "But he has got burning ambitions to play for Ireland like all our Welsh boys have to play for Wales."

"Part of it will be out of our control, but certainly we will be looking at other players as well. Tadhg came in from outside so if he were to go I am sure we will find someone to replace him."

Beirne, 25, who ironically made his debut against Munster at the start of last season, was one of the outstanding performers for the surprise winners of last year's championship.

Belfast Telegraph

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