Erasmus dismisses Bok coach rumours
The rumour mill, fuelled by media reports, went into overdrive late this week with a repeat of the earlier suggestion the Bok coach Allister Coetzee's days are numbered – following the annus horribilis that was 2016.
Friday reports surfaced that Erasmus, affectionately known as Rassie, will head to South Africa 'soon' for talks with SARU – in the hope that they could convince him to replace Coetzee.
It was reported that pay-TV network SuperSport will provide the financial support that will allow SARU to buy Coetzee and his backroom staff out of their contracts (which run until 2019), as well as buy Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber (who joined him at Munster last year) out of their contracts (which also run till 2019).
However, the Erasmus camp dismissed the reports out of hand.
"We are not aware of it," Frikkie Erasmus, Rassie's lawyer, told rugby365, when asked for comment on the latest rumours.
"Rassie has a contract with Munster and won't come here to talk to people while he is doing so well at Munster.
"He is very happy in Ireland and he doesn't have the interference there that happens here in South Africa. He has a long stint to go on what is a very good contract."
Clinton van der Berg, the Communications Manager at SuperSport, also dismissed the rumours of their supposed involvement in the negotiations to remove Coetzee.
"It is nonsense," Van Der Berg told rugby365.
There is another thread in the 'Coetzee to be fired' grapevine, which links Dave Rennie – coach of the New Zealand-based Chiefs – to the Bok job.
However, the same conditions are attached to the possibility of Rennie taking over South Africa's national team. He is contracted to the Chiefs until then end of the 2017 Super Rugby team in August and has already signed a two-year deal to move to the Glasgow Warriors in Scotland.
Again, it will require SARU – who made a significant loss last year and are projecting another tight fiscal year in 2017 – to come up with a significant amount (said to be more than ZAR50-million) to buy out all the people from their various contracts.
By Jan de Koning