Former Munster hero Marcus Horan has lamented the timing of the departure of Rassie Erasmus from Munster, suggesting it leaves the province facing the 'worst scenario' next season.

It has been confirmed that the South African has triggered a six-month notice clause in his contract to return to his native land for a role as the Springboks director of rugby, also taking prized defence coach Jacques Nienaber with him.

That leaves Munster scrambling to resolve a situation that would see Erasmus leave in December, right in the middle of the coming season.

And double Heineken Cup winner Horan is struggling to see a satisfactory resolution for his former side.

"I think everyone thought it had all blown over by season's end, and we'd had word that he was staying," Horan told 2fm's Game On.

"When those rumours kick off again you think it's a slow news week or something, but it's emerged as something bigger and that news this morning is a massive blow.

Erasmus (R) with Jacques Nienaber

"You see the situation and you don't know what the best scenario is. Do you cut the cord now and go looking for someone else - I don't think they are in the position to do that, either financially or timewise - or do you try and persuade him to stay on and do a full season?

"I think they have gotten the worst scenario, in a situation where they are building on last season and then the plug is pulled in December.

"How do you prepare the players for that psychologically? How do you prepare the coaching staff that he has there, the likes of Jerry Flannery and Felix (Jones), who've drawn unbelievable confidence from the two South African coaches over the last year?

"It'll have a big impact on them and be a huge test of their character."

Horan's view was echoed by former Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan, who fears Munster's attempts to build on a promising last 12 months will be torpedoed by Erasmus's midseason exit.

"I couldn't agree more," O'Sullivan said.

"The solution here is almost impossible to find. If Erasmus left now, they wouldn't have a coach in time to start preseason, and even if a coach comes in new he has to impose his system and build his way of doing things.

"That takes time. You saw last year how Connacht unravelled when Pat Lam announced he was leaving. You'd hope things would stay on track until they find somebody, but even then, if they find a new coach in October, when does he come on board?"

"The solution here is almost impossible to find."

"The obvious thing that would happen here is that they would cut ties and let him go, which would coast a fair chunk of money that they may not have. Having said that, there is nobody to step in, there is actually no one available.

"It would be a massive ask for Felix Jones and Jerry Flannery to do that. It would be very unfair on them.

So it's the worst possible scenario here. It's a real conundrum, to thread your way through this and not lose ground. It's be almost impossible to build on last season the way this is panning out.

"The disappointing thing is that this was in the ether going back six months. If this was a reality six months ago, it would have been better if he'd come out and said it six months ago and given Munster a chance to get their house in order."

Join us for our New Zealand v Lions match tracker on RTE.ie and live radio commentary on RTÉ Radio 1 for the second Test in Wellington (kick-off 8.35am).

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