Crusaders mentor Robbie Deans has effectively ruled himself out of becoming the Wallabies first foreign coach.
Deans has dipped out of the running for Australia's top coaching post after indicating he wanted a successful end to his fruitful Crusaders tenure.
Australian Rugby Union high-performance manager Pat Wilson today revealed Deans was keen to have another year at the helm of Canterbury's six-time Super rugby champions.
While Wilson would not officially rule the New Zealander out of the running it would be near impossible for him to prepare Australia's 2008 campaign with less than a month's break between Super 14 and international duties.
Deans and Wilson had preliminary talks about the job vacancy last month in a meeting which included a game of squash and have spoken again in recent days.
Since the Crusaders suffered an atypical late-season fade, which ultimately ended with a sudden-death 27-12 semi-final loss to the Bulls in Pretoria, Deans feels he has some unfinished business.
"The Crusaders are a very proud organisation and Robbie is certainly a very proud individual and I think you'll find he wants to have another season there," Wilson told AAP.
But the ARU will not take Deans' hat out of a ring which also includes Laurie Fisher (Brumbies), Ewen McKenzie (NSW), David Nucifora (Blues) and Wallabies assistants Michael Foley and Scott Johnson.
The decision on the replacement for John Connolly will be made in November, as soon as possible after the Rugby World Cup, and Wilson conceded the chosen candidate may still be tied to a Super 14 province.
He admitted it was a question that still needed to be answered by a panel assigned to choosing the coach.
"It (Super 14 commitments) may not rule any of them out," Wilson said.
McKenzie has said he would be prepared to stay on with the Waratahs even if he received the Wallabies post so not to leave them in the lurch.
However Australia A coach Fisher, the early favourite, has told the Brumbies he would rather not do both.
After the weekend's semi-final loss Deans said he would let the New Zealand and Canterbury unions know his intentions within a fortnight.
"I enjoy what I do here, and we'll see if there's any interest in keeping me," he told Christchurch newspaper The Press.
Crusaders boss Hamish Riach has told Deans the job was his if wanted to stay.
"He has our full support. He's aware that we would love him to stay and lead the Crusaders into the future. He's had remarkable success and we would like that to continue with him at the helm," Riach said.
Wallabies forwards coach Foley and attack coach Johnson won't be interviewed for the main job until after the RWC with the ARU preferring they stay completely focussed on the Test season.