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Greener Pastures For Rassie?

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Speculation is rife in the Western Province about the possible departure, within months, of senior professional coach - effectively director of rugby - Rassie Erasmus.


The desperation of the South African Rugby Union (SARU) to secure top level technical assistance for embattled Springbok coach Peter de Villiers ahead of their November northern hemisphere tour - seen as imperative in preparation for next year's World Cup - combined with SARU's advertising of the vacant SA under 20 coaching position, could see Erasmus move on from his role as overall-in-charge of WP coaching and planning to take up a combined role with SARU.


The recent vote-wrangling electioneering by probable candidates for the position of WP Rugby Union president by executive members Thelo Wakefield and Peter Jooste - in which they cast aspersions on an alleged lack of transformation in selection and contracting of players, and on the development of young players - can have served only to encourage Erasmus to consider greener pastures.


An accurate assessment of Erasmus's contribution to WP is that he has brought a level of technical expertise to coaching in the province which is way ahead of the technical skill offered at present at national level, and SARU would be keen to employ that professionalism for the benefit of the Springboks and the SA under 20 team.


The work ethic he has instilled in WP rugby is exceptional too and his youth development programme is firmly on track and augers well for Province rugby in years to come.


Erasmus's expertise is such that if appointed to a senior SARU post, he is expected to make as substantial a difference to their structures as he has to WP rugby, which has come on by leaps and bounds from the somewhat haphazard structures in place when he arrived in Cape Town.


Rumours of a management rift in the WP management team have been dismissed by insiders as nonsense, especially since Erasmus and the Stormers and WP coach Allister Coetzee - appointed as head coach by Erasmus - get on particularly well.


Further setbacks for WP, if Erasmus were to be appointed by SARU, could see defence coach Jacques Nienaber, who moved with Erasmus from Bloemfontein to Cape Town, and forwards' coach Matt Proudfoot, potentially follow him to offer their expertise at national level - but at this stage that possibility is some way down the road.

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Province: Rassie’s going nowhere


Western Province have refuted claims that Rassie Erasmus will be taking up a director of rugby post with SA Rugby.


A article published in the Cape Argus suggested Erasmus was contemplating the move, but WP have responded by reminding all parties concerned that Erasmus is contracted to the Cape union until 2012.


‘Rassie is committed to WP Rugby and is a valued and respected member of the coaching staff. The rumours of a rift and an imminent move have absolutely no basis,’ said Rob Wagner, MD of WP Rugby.

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