John Connolly will fulfill a lifetime ambition when he is named as Wallaby coach next week.
The former Reds coach was not among the favourites to succeed Eddie Jones when the job was first advertised, but is the last man standing after the other leading candidates withdrew or showed no interest in applying.
Waratahs coach Ewen McKenzie opted to stay in Sydney after receiving a better package and more control over the team, while new Blues coach David Nucifora – who was shafted by the Brumbies two years ago – has opted to stay in New Zealand, at least for the moment.
“The timing would not have been right for me and also you have family issues as well where you’re moving around from place to place all the time, and that can become quite difficult for coaches,” Nucifora told the Sydney Morning Herald. “But mainly I had a commitment to meet with these guys and I’m really enjoying it and I think that’s not to be overlooked and I’ve also been given a good opportunity being the first Australian to coach in New Zealand.”
Meanwhile, Greg Growden reports that the ARU are trying to get former Wallaby coach Rod Mcqueen back on board as an assistant/advisor to Connolly.
At least two officials have been eager for Macqueen, who is part of the selection panel to appoint the new Australian coach, to take a more senior hands-on role in the 2007 World Cup campaign.