SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus has addressed the rumours that he will be off to Ireland after the Rugby World Cup.
Erasmus was reportedly in the running to replace David Nucifora as Ireland’s performance director and has now spoken out about it.
Rassie denies Ireland talks
Former Springboks lock Victor Matfield re-ignited the rumour, which has been swirling for some time, again last week on The Rugby Pod.
Matfield said that he believed that Erasmus would follow current Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber to Ireland after the World Cup.
Nienaber is joining Leinster as the side’s new senior coach, replacing Stuart Lancaster.
“Knowing Rassie and knowing Jacques (Nienaber), those two do everything together, so I think the chance of him going to Ireland must be 90-95%,” Matfield said on the podcast.
However, Erasmus squashed those rumours when asked if he would be joining the IRFU after the World Cup.
“No, I won’t be,” he said at a press conference ahead of South Africa’s Rugby World Cup Pool B match against Ireland.
“There have been no talks, and there is no truth in that. I am not sure where it started, but definitely not.
“I haven’t chatted to them, and I am definitely not following Jacques [Nienaber].”
Johnny Sexton’s importance for Ireland
Focusing on this weekend’s action, Erasmus hailed the importance of Ireland captain Johnny Sexton.
The veteran fly-half became Ireland’s all-time leading points scorer in Test rugby when he dotted down against Tonga at the weekend, and Erasmus believes that he “is vital” to Andy Farrell’s side.
“When I was at Munster, we beat Leinster once,” he said.
“Whenever Johnny is in the team, a lot of things happen, not just as a player, I think the aura around him and his presence.
“For a man at 38 to score tries like he did this weekend… As long as he is physically out there, there is no doubt about [his influence].
“The aura he has about him is exceptional, not just for his own team but very intimidating for us as the opposition.”