Deans rules himself out of contention for top Leinster post
Ex-Wallabies boss coy on whether he had been approached to become head coach
Former Australia coach Robbie Deans: flattered to be linked with the Leinster role, but the timeline does not suit. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
Robbie Deans has ruled himself out of the running for the Leinster head coach job, despite admitting it is one of the most attractive positions in rugby. The former Australia head coach also refused to deny a formal approach had been made by the province, having been considered the frontrunner to replace Matt O’Connor.
Deans, who will lead the Barbarians in Thursday’s fixture against Ireland at Thomond Park, is currently contracted to Panasonic Wild Knights, and while he is flattered to be linked with the Leinster role, the 55-year-old insists the timeline does not suit and he plans to honour his contract with the Japanese club.
Leinster may now turn their attention to their former forwards coach Jono Gibbes and another ex-Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie.
“It’s always nice that people think you’re capable of doing a job like that, but in terms of the realities, I’m currently contracted to Panasonic,” Deans said. When pressed on whether it was a job he would find attractive, he added: “Not in the timelines that would suit me at the minute. I would say it is very attractive . . . for someone. But not for me. It’s a great destination, a great place to live and play the game and there is great competition.”
The former Crusaders coach believes Ireland are among the favourites for the World Cup and hailed Joe Schmidt for guiding the team to the Six Nations title after Brian O’Driscoll’s retirement. “That’s indicative of what’s happened under Schmidt, in that they’re not waiting to get to the level they want. They have been developing and planning for it and he has done a good job. They know they can beat the All Blacks and if anybody should be favourites, it’s them depending on who you should talk to.
Deans intimated he has surprises up his sleeve for Thursday’s game in Limerick but is promising an expansive brand of rugby, both against Ireland and England
“We want to use the ball but we have two opponents who want to suffocate us. They know we’re going to bring some creativity to it but England and Ireland will be quite the opposite. And that’s fine.”