Sound clips from podcasts should be taken with a grain of salt. It’s a media outlet filled with rumors, hearsay, and no shortage of speculation.
Victor Matfield’s recent comments on the apparently imminent appointment of Rassie Erasmus as David Nucifora’s successor should therefore be listened to with caution.
For the record, this is what the former Springboks lock told The Rugby Pod earlier this week.
“It looks like Rassie is leaving,” said Matfield, of Erasmus joining as IRFU performance director next year.
“He might stay a few months just to get things set up. But knowing Rassie, knowing Jacques (Nienaber), these two do everything together.
Rassie Erasmus would certainly be a compelling choice for Ireland’s next director of performance
After South Africa’s World Cup triumph in 2019, it’s hard to argue with their record.
“So I think the chances of him going to Ireland must be close to 90 to 95 percent.” The two still work together.
Perhaps Matfield has a good idea of the South African supremo’s next move, but it seems like a hunch based on Nienaber’s connection with the Leinster coaching staff after the World Cup.
Whether this rumor about Erasmus is true or not, it would be a fascinating decision for both parties.
Erasmus can be a divisive character. There are still many people in Munster who still feel a little lukewarm towards the South African follow-up after its premature exit from the province. However, you can’t argue with his track record.
And with Nucifora planning to step down after a decade in charge – arguably the most influential role in Irish rugby – in 2024, the IRFU is looking for a high-caliber candidate.
In terms of CV, Erasmus fits the bill. Indeed, he could well be the one to derail Ireland’s World Cup campaign next weekend. This meeting in Pool B in Paris is now looming.
The big worry is that Erasmus has formulated a plan to cancel out Andy Farrell’s team at the Stade de France. Erasmus always has a plan. Park all the sideshows around those tweets, traffic lights and suspensions, it’s one of the slickest operators in the game.
Johnny Sexton became Ireland’s leading points scorer in the win over Tonga.
Erasmus split opinions on Munster manager but there could be unfinished Irish business
You wouldn’t bet against him leading the Boks to back-to-back World Cups in weeks either. The perfect way to unplug before heading back to Ireland to take care of some unfinished business?
Time will tell on both fronts. It would be fitting if Nienaber injected some much-needed Springbok steel into the Leinster ranks and helped the province win the coveted Champions Cup in the coming seasons.
It would be fitting for Erasmus to return to Ireland and oversee the restructuring of the system that would finally allow the national team to go further into the knockout stages of the World Cup.
Once again, we are dealing here with assumptions. But the case for Erasmus as the IRFU’s next performance director is compelling. It certainly wouldn’t be boring.
Ireland could build on a revolutionary legacy or rebuild from the ruins of another failed campaign. Regardless, Irfu is going to need a big character to move the game forward. Erasmus ticks a lot of boxes.
One thing is for sure, he is about to have a say in Ireland’s chances of winning the World Cup. If recent rumors are to be believed, he could also have a say in Ireland’s future plans.