Munster confirm Rassie Erasmus will leave the province at the end of December

He will be joined by defence coach Jacques Nienaber as they set to return to their native South Africa

BY Newstalk 10:46 Friday 30 June 2017, 10:46 30 Jun 2017

Image: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Munster Rugby and the IRFU have today confirmed that Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber will leave the province at the end of December to return to their native South Africa.

Rumours had linked them to positions within the South African international rugby set-up and today the Irish province confirmed that their Director of Rugby would be leaving the team after they identify replacements for the positions.

He will take up the position of Director of Rugby in the SARU.

"While we understand Erasmus' reason to return to his home country for an opportunity as the national director of rugby we are disappointed to see him and Jacques both leave," said Munster Rugby CEO Garrett Fitzgerald.

"Working closely with both I witnessed first-hand the work that they do, and we will always be grateful to Rassie for leading the squad through our most difficult time with the untimely passing of Axel [Anthony Foley].

"I believe we were very lucky in securing Rassie and Jacques in the first place, and we are thankful for the services of such experienced and knowledgeable coaching talent.

"Rassie succeeded in getting us back on track with much of the same personnel and when you see how far we have come and what we have gone through as a squad and organisation I am confident we will successfully manage the next stage. As a group we will be all the better for their input with Jerry and Felix now ready to step up to the next level. 

"We have been in this position before, whereby our coach has been offered a national role and we are not going to stand in the way of someone in that regard. We understand Rassie's decision, and all parties are working together in managing the situation."

He added: "I believe we are in a positive place and I don't think there will be any doubts around what we can achieve and go on to do. We'll continue to learn from both coaches and progress with putting the structures and processes in place in making sure we are a side performing and competing at the highest level."

The pair joined Munster at the start of July 2016 and along with Jerry Flannery, Felix Jones and the late Anthony Foley, guided the squad to a Guinness PRO12 final and Champions Cup semi-final.

Both Flannery and Jones have already committed their future to the Irish province.

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