Rassie Erasmus quitting the Springboks for a job with Ireland looks all the more unlikely after the appointment of David Humphreys as the IRFU’s new performance director.
Reports linking Erasmus, SA’s director of rugby, to the role of IRFU performance director, soon to be vacated by David Nucifora, had emerged during the 2023 World Cup. Erasmus had previously shrugged off the speculation, indicating he would stay with the Boks.
The appointment of former Ireland international Humphreys by the IRFU seems to solidify Erasmus’ commitment to SA Rugby.
Outgoing Bok head coach Jacques Nienaber has expressed his openness to returning to the national team setup, a potential sign that Erasmus and Nienaber are still keen to keep working together in the Bok setup.
They led South Africa to a historic World Cup title defence, but Nienaber is set to join Leinster, having signed a contract with the Irish club before the tournament got under way in France.
Meanwhile, Humphreys, with his extensive experience in rugby, was enthusiastic about his new role, ensuring the continued development of Irish rugby.
“I was fortunate to have a wonderful playing career with Ireland and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to play a part in another chapter of Irish Rugby’s history,” he told the IRFU’s official website.
“This role is the fulfillment of a lifelong ambition and I look forward to building on the successful systems put in place by David Nucifora, who has been a driving force behind Irish Rugby for 10 years.”
The 52-year-old had a stellar career with Ulster and Ireland, winning 72 caps for Ireland and scoring 560 points. He captained Ulster to the first Irish European Cup success in the 1998-99 season and won the Celtic Cup in 2004 and the Celtic League in 2005-06.
He served as director of rugby for Ulster and spent six years in a similar role with Gloucester. He then took on a role as a high-performance consultant with Georgia and is currently the director of performance operations with the England & Wales Cricket Board.
Photo: Julien De Rosa/AFP