Amazing fella that Laurie Mains. The only Sanzar country where he has missed headlines this week has been his native New Zealand.

However, sources will tell you that he or his agents have been working in all three member countries to try to sort out a Super 12 deal for the former All Black coach.

Lugubrious Laurie, as the Aussies love to call him, is considered to be in a race with former Wallaby coach Bob Dwyer to take over as coach of the ailing New South Wales Waratahs.

There were reports that New South Wales officials would meet Mains in Perth to discuss the job, while yesterday there was news from South Africa that Mains and his Cats employers this season had been through a full, frank and meaningful discussion about continuing their partnership next year.

Down south on his Dunedin home patch, it was quiet, though inquiries during test week revealed that Mains' emissaries had been at work seeing if he was in with any shout for the Highlanders in 2001

Mains is well regarded as a coach with high technical ability, but appointing him may bring some dramas in all three countries.

In New Zealand, all five Super 12 coaches have a further year to run on their contracts, and the New Zealand Rugby Union seems reluctant to pay any of them out.

Indeed, it appears that Ross Cooper, even if moved from the Chiefs, will find alternative employment with the NZRFU as coaching development manager to replace Evan Crawford.

That national coaching job might suit Mains, and it would be a comfortable compromise for many in Otago. They feel Mains' talents should not be wasted, while they believe Highlanders coach Peter Sloane must stay after finishing fourth with a team he did not select.

Mains has often talked about his unease at coaching in the Republic, where his success with the Cats has contrasted with his spats this season about quotas.

Most of the angst is coming from Australia. The Waratahs have recognised Mains' talents (remember they sounded out John Boe for the job last year) and are in charge of the appointment.

But ARU chief executive John O'Neill is against the idea.

He wanted to use next week's Sanzar meeting to push for a fourth Australian franchise, but knows his argument will wither if he can only find local coaching talent to fill two jobs.

Some New South Wales grade coaches have asked that if Mains gets the job, what incentive is there for them to continue with their careers.

Others say that if there is also a policy that every Super 12 player in Australia has to be available for the Wallabies, why can't the same criteria apply to the coaches?

Whatever happens, Mains is going to make headlines for a little while yet.