The Rapport newspaper reported that the World Cup-winning coach was being lined up for the England role after 2021

RFU deny links with Rassie Erasmus

The RFU have denied reports that they have held talks with Rassie Erasmus about taking over as England coach in 2021.

Afrikaans newspaper Rapport reported that Springboks director of rugby and World Cup-winning coach Erasmus was being lined up to replace Eddie Jones as England coach when his current deal expires.

Erasmus, who recently stepped back as Boks head coach following South Africa’s 32-12 win over Jones’s England in the 2019 World Cup final, still has a lengthy deal up to, and beyond, the 2023 World Cup. Yet the story in Rapport claimed that there is a clause in Erasmus’s deal that will allow him to walk away earlier if he comes to an agreement with the RFU.

Erasmus was present as England defeated Scotland 13-6 in the Six Nations on Saturday, but the RFU have denied all links with him.

RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney said: “The reports are 100% inaccurate. There has been no meeting. There have been no talks whatsoever about any position at the RFU.”

In December, Sweeney said that discussions were ongoing with Jones over staying until 2023. The administrator said at the time: “He’s contracted through to August 2021. There is no deadline or cut-off period to that. He’s stated very clearly he’s committed to seeing that out, so there’s no looming deadline where we need to make a pressing decision.

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“We are talking, we’re continuing to talk. We had the review first, we’ve had a number of meetings on it. It needs to work for both sides for it to be absolutely right. If it’s the right thing for him to stay, if he wants to stay and we want him to stay then it’ll go that way. The review was very supportive. He and I sat down and talked on a number of occasions. At the moment he’s contracted through and fully committed to seeing out the contract until 2021 and we’ll take it from there.”

Meanwhile, Rapport have also addressed the Daily Mail story on Saturday that suggested South Africa would join an expanded ‘Seven Nations’ in 2024 and that “things are falling nicely into place” with negotiations ongoing.

Running with a headline of ‘Secret conversations over Boks in Six Nations not so far-fetched’ (in Afrikaans), the piece featured SA Rugby supremo Mark Alexander. While acknowledging there was plenty of speculation, Alexander said: “SA Rugby has not yet made a decision about what route to follow. We have to reflect thoroughly about what is best for us, because things are changing drastically at the moment; the market is changing.”

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