Timeline - What led to Deans' appointment

Timeline of events which led to Robbie Deans being appointed Wallabies rugby coach:

June 7: John O'Neill returns as chief executive of the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) and confirms it will consider a foreigner as Wallabies coach for the first time. Says he has "enormous time" for Robbie Deans and is committed to finding the best man for the job.

August 1: O'Neill releases his book It's Only a Game. Reveals he wanted Deans to succeed Eddie Jones in 2004 but the ARU policy banning foreign coaches got in the way. Deans created a culture to be envied at the Crusaders, ONeill wrote.

September 1: The Wallabies coaching position, to be vacated by John Connolly after the World Cup, is formally advertised. Reports say the ARUs shortlist is Deans, Ewen McKenzie, Scott Johnson, John Muggleton, Laurie Fisher and David Nucifora, with Deans a pronounced favourite.

October 6: Wallabies and All Blacks are bundled out in the World Cup quarterfinals within hours of each other, by England and France.

Oct 17: Deans, O'Neill and ARU high performance manager Pat Howard meet in Paris for a chat over coffee.

Oct 31: Deans breaks his silence, announcing his intention to apply for the All Blacks job, and says he won't be entering the Wallabies race. Nucifora becomes favourite to succeed Connolly.

November 2: Former successful Wallabies coach of the 1980s, Alan Jones, announces his surprise application with the backing of Queensland Rugby Union chairman Peter Lewis.

Nov 9: An ARU panel of former Wallabies Howard, Brett Robinson, Rod McCall, Michael Hawker and Mark Connors interview the final five candidates: Jones, McKenzie (Waratahs), Muggleton (Wallabies assistant), Fisher (Brumbies) and Nucifora (Blues).

November 23: O'Neill goes on leave after undergoing neck surgery, delaying the ARU board discussion on the issue until mid-December.

Nov 27: NZRU announces four shortlisted candidates for All Blacks coach: Graham Henry, who was forced to re-apply, Deans, Colin Cooper and Ian Foster.

December 6: NZRU panel interviews the four candidates amid rumblings of ever-increasing board support for Henry.

Dec 7: Henry is re-appointed. Australian bookmakers shorten Deans to $1.50 favourite to become Wallabies coach. ARU deputy chief executive Matt Carroll tells Deans to call us. McKenzie says Deans' appointment would bring into question the whole ARU coaching system and wonders whether his application was a waste of time.

Dec 8: Deans formally applies after a telephone call from Howard. Reports say his salary will be around A$1 million. Former test lock Peter FitzSimons says a New Zealander coaching the Wallabies would be a black day for rugby.

Dec 9: Senior Wallaby Chris Latham backs Deans as the best candidate.

Dec 11: Deans travels to Brisbane to be interviewed by the same five-man ARU panel. Wallabies great John Eales adds his backing to Deans' application.

Dec 14: ARU confirms Deans as the first foreign coach of the Wallabies.


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