Greg Feek well used to Erasmus-type speculation
Ireland scrum coach can understand rumours but ‘feels sorry’ for Munster coach
Greg Feek: “I heard it this morning and a few of us just went, ‘Jeez, again?’ You guys probably thought the same thing. I feel sorry for Rassie in some ways.”
Bus journeys continue to beguile the whirring mind of Joe Schmidt. But the Munster contingent among the Irish touring party awoke Tuesday morning to renewed instability regarding Rassie Erasmus’s future as Director of Rugby in Limerick.
“I think these guys are probably used to that rumour by now,” said Greg Feek, the Ireland scrum coach when the issue was put to him yesterday (no Munster player was made available for interview). “I don’t know why it keeps coming up. Obviously the South Africans are trying to get him back, so there is always going to be that rumour. At the end of the day we haven’t heard any confirmation and I haven’t heard anything from the guys.”
What’s your understanding of it? “I don’t have any to be honest. I heard it this morning and a few of us just went, ‘Jeez, again?’ You guys probably thought the same thing. I feel sorry for Rassie in some ways.”
The “rumour” began in April when Erasmus confirmed “formal and informal” conversations are constantly happening with the South African rugby union. Erasmus also spoke of his strong desire to return to South Africa and oversee the Springboks. He called it his dream job.
Eventually, as the issue refused to go away, because Erasmus and Munster allowed it to fester, the 44-year-old sat among his squad and told them he was staying.
Erasmus confirmed as much to the media after the Champions Cup semi-final defeat to Saracens, when pointedly asked: Are staying for the next two seasons?
“Yes, yes, yes.”
Definitely staying Rassie?
Jacques Nienaber, his highly rated sidekick, is expected to go wherever Erasmus roams and it is known that the Springboks were disappointed to lose their defence coach last summer.
Schmidt has already noted the World Cup organisers need to address the 80-minute round trip from hotel to training facility
Back to Ireland in Tokyo, Feek said the entire squad are fit to play at Tokyo stadium this Saturday. Ireland could be back in this 49,970 capacity ground as Japan kick-off their 2019 tournament in Chofu.
However, Finlay Bealham, Dan Leavy and Luke McGrath all sat out the contact part of training at the NTT Shining Arcs facility due to lacerations sustained during the 55-22 destruction of the Brave Blossoms in Shizuoka last Saturday.
To the bus. Schmidt has already noted the World Cup organisers need to address the 80-minute round trip from hotel to training facility.
“[Before 2019] we will look hard for training bases that are not too far away from where we are domiciled,” he said.
I think it won’t be as hot during the World Cup as it is today but that’s all the stuff we will look at after the tour. There are ways of managing that as well
The squad have switched to an actual rugby pitch this week, with former Munster coach Rob Penney hosting them at NTT, but the round trip was the same as last week.
“Things are quite calm in getting there, it is not a big rush, it’s a reasonably non-arduous trip,” said Feek. “I don’t know whether that’s because the roads are a lot better, a lot straighter, I don’t know.
“The surface we were on today was brilliant, great facility, and I think you do need that at least once a week to go somewhere and have a good training paddock, something you can rely on. I think it won’t be as hot during the World Cup as it is today but that’s all the stuff we will look at after the tour. There are ways of managing that as well.
“The bus trips are one thing, I don’t think we can control everything here in Japan. In terms of traffic, you’ve seen how many people live here!”
The main issue for Irish players in Tokyo is maintaining their fighting weight.
“I think probably the big one is guys not being used to the diet is probably the big one and just getting used to that is a big thing.
“I think when you’re away from home you try to make it as much like home as you and have all those comforts but when you come to a country like this, like anywhere in Europe can provide a basic, similar meal.
“Maybe six months leading up to the World Cup guys will have different types of Japanese meals, not just sushi, and see what else there is to offer.
“I know myself, I’ve been to Japan a few times and New Zealand is actually influenced by Japan a lot in it’s food culture. Things like eating too much of one type of food, like protein, mean you’re not getting enough fire in and you mightn’t have enough fluids because there’s not as much of this that you might be used to, not enough vegetables. Our nutritionist Ruth [Wood Martin] has done an outstanding job in terms of being able to work with that and working with the hotel.
“I think if we didn’t have her it would have been a lot tougher too.”