Wallabies to interview Deans, Nucifora
AAP | Tuesday, 23 October 2007

AUSSIE, AUSSIE, AUSSIE? New Zealand's Robbie Deans (left) and Blues coach David Nucifora (right) have been confirmed as contenders for the Wallabies coaching job while South Africa's Jake White could also be in the mix.

Robbie Deans and David Nucifora are among the candidates to be interviewed for Wallabies coach, Australian Rugby Union chief executive John O'Neill revealed today.

It's the first time the two New Zealand Super 14 coaches, who have preferred not to comment on the subject, have been confirmed as candidates for the position that John Connolly had held up to the World Cup.

Deans, the Crusaders mentor and one of New Zealand's most successful coaches, had informal talks with O'Neill during the World Cup in France. He is seen as a strong contender for the All Blacks job.

Nucifora, an Australian who left the Brumbies on an unhappy note before becoming the Blues coach, now appears more keen on the Wallabies job than before Australia's early exit from the World Cup.

O'Neill said South Africa's World Cup-winning mentor Jake White would certainly come under consideration for the Wallabies coaching job if he applied.

O'Neill, who arrived back in Sydney from France this morning, said interviews with the candidates were scheduled for November 9 with the ARU board to meet on November 16 to discuss the applications.

"If we were in a position to make a final decision by the end of November, that would be good," he said.

"We don't want to put ourselves under any unrealistic timeframes. The end of November is the target date."

O'Neill reiterated he wasn't excluding anyone from contention.

"In the real world, you'd like the person to be Australian. (But) the priority for us is to get the best person for the job," he said.

"We've got a very good list of candidates: Ewen McEnzie, Laurie Fisher, John Muggleton, Scott Johnson, David Nucifora and Robbie Deans.

"Maybe Jake White, maybe others. But we want the best person for the job."

Meanwhile, O'Neill said he expected his organisation's human resources committee to reach a resolution in the next two weeks over the allegations surrounding the behaviour of ARU chairman Peter McGrath.

McGrath stood down pending an investigation into a sponsor's complaint that he was allegedly seen in an intoxicated state on the eve of the Wallabies' quarterfinal loss to England in Marseille on October 6.

"We'll allow due process to now flow. . . (as for) the timing and the way in which it's being handled, the best I can say is two weeks," O'Neill said.