Nucifora firms as Wallabies coach - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Nucifora firms as Wallabies coach

By Adrian Warren 31/10/2007 07:34:49 PM Comments (0)

The odds of an Australian winning the Wallabies coaching position shortened dramatically, after New Zealander Robbie Deans withdrew from the race.

Crusaders mentor Deans made his intentions clear at a news conference in Christchurch, leaving former Brumbies mentor and current Blues coach David Nucifora the new favourite for the role.

"Essentially I am available, interested and keen to coach the All Blacks," said Deans, a four-time Super title winner with the Crusaders.

Deans said he wouldn't do anything that would preclude him from becoming All Blacks coach and that included being interviewed for the Australian position.

Deans had an informal meeting with Australian Rugby Union (ARU) chief executive John O'Neill during the recent World Cup in France but the body's high performance manager Pat Howard said Deans had not formally applied for the Wallabies post.

He said the ARU had kept in regular contact with Deans since he had left Paris, with the New Zealander informing him of his intentions on Tuesday night.

"He made us aware of exactly what he was going to say today, so he's been fantastic in this process, he's been really upfront and we wish him all the best in that All Black bid," Howard said.

"It was always on the cards. I guess from the ARU's perspective there is a timing issue for Robbie in terms of when the All Black coaching job is there and the Australian coaching job."

The ARU has scheduled their interviews of the candidates for November 9 and are expected to announce the successor to John Connolly by the end of that month.

Howard wouldn't rule out the possibility that the process for the Wallabies position could go into December, when New Zealand is expected to reveal the All Blacks coach.

But he suggested it would be highly unlikely that Deans would still be in consideration if he missed out on New Zealand's top job.

"The difficulty is you never say never, but we've got a process occurring on November 9," Howard said.

"Depending on how long the structures take, things will take a little bit of time because you've got to have a lot of conversations with your coach obviously going forward.

"But we've got to deal with the candidates we've got in hand, we've got some excellent candidates and we're quite happy with where the process is heading."

Deans was philosophical about the time lines for the two positions effectively ruling him out of Wallabies consideration.

"They've (the ARU) got a process to go through as well and they've got timelines they may want to meet that's the way it is," Deans said.

Incumbent New Zealand coach Graham Henry is unlikely to be retained following New Zealand's shock World Cup quarter-final elimination by France.

Howard said South Africa's World Cup winning coach Jake White had yet to lodge an application for the Wallabies job, despite an enquiry about the process from his manager last week.

The Australian applicants for the position include Nucifora, Brumbies coach Laurie Fisher, Waratahs mentor Ewen McKenzie and Wallabies assistant coaches Scott Johnson and John Muggleton.

Of that group, Nucifora has the best record at Super level, guiding the Brumbies to a title in 2004 and leading the Blues to the semi-finals last year.

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