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Tuesday 25 July 2017

Munster need to tour New Zealand for a new coach

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Former Munster centre Jason Holland is making a big impression at the Hurricanes and could be a possible successor to Rassie Erasmus. Pic: Sportsfile
Former Munster centre Jason Holland is making a big impression at the Hurricanes and could be a possible successor to Rassie Erasmus. Pic: Sportsfile

Munster are looking into the capture of a new coach.

The move home of Rassie Erasmus from the Irish province to lead the Springboks back into the light is understandable.

There is no higher honour in the game for a South African than to take charge of the national team.

"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 (Nienaber, defence coach) both leave," said Munster CEO Garrett Fitzgerald in a statement yesterday.

"I believe we were very lucky in securing Rassie and Jacques in the first place.

"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.

"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."

Nonetheless, it will leave a bitter taste for those who were comforted as recently as the evening of the PRO12 final by Erasmus repeatedly stating he was going to be at Munster to the end of his contract.

Is anyone out there suggesting Joe Schmidt wouldn't have returned to New Zealand were he given the call?

The need of South Africa is far greater in that they are in a state of crisis, despite the 2-0 Test series win over a disinterested France in June.

Munster have been given four months to look abroad for yet another new coach.

However, the earlier the better as pre-season started this week.

The race is on to employ a new leader to maintain the momentum of their resurgence.

They could do worse than take a look at the home of Joe Schmidt, Pat Lam and Connacht's new man Kieran Keane.

Here are three men on the up in New Zealand rugby.

1.Jason Holland Hurricanes attack and backs coach

The former Munster inside centre has been a raving success in his new role in Wellington.

The Hurricanes have set a new try-scoring record in Super Rugby with 81 from just 14 rounds.

However, the man they call 'Dutchy' appeared to rule himself out of the running, mainly down to the fact his two daughters are at school.

"I'd love to stay here for a good while, partly because of the family - I've moved them around," the former centre says.

"I remember I was telling the girls they were leaving Ireland four or five years ago, or whenever it was, and then nearly changing my mind because their worlds were falling apart. They were born over there.

"I'd love to go back at some stage but not in the near future," he said yesterday.

2.Leon MacDonald

Crusaders backs coach

The former All Black full-back is revered as the next big thing in his homeland.

He has resisted many overtures in New Zealand, taking his time to cut his teeth at the Tasman Makos.

Eventually, the lure of the Crusaders, where he played for 11 years, was too tempting.

He came on board this season to work with the backs and is highly regarded for his technical skills and innovative, strategic thinking in a team that has not lost in Super Rugby.

However, it is highly unlikely MacDonald would be willing to depart Crusaders after just one season working with Scott Robertson.

3. Chris Boyd

Hurricanes Head coach

The 58 year-old former New Zealand U20 coach led the Hurricanes to a long-awaited Super Rugby title last season.

Boyd is more in the Rassie Erasmus director of rugby mould and would probably need to bring in his own team.

He is regarded as a fine man-manager and is in his third season at the Hurricanes, where he is assisted by former Ireland forwards coach John Plumtree and Holland.

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