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Headhunter: RFU want O'Shea to help pick England's next coach

Conor O’Shea will join a five-man panel to pick Martin Johnson’s successor, the Telegraph reports.

ENGLAND’S RUGBY BOSSES have turned to Limerick native Conor O’Shea to help with their search for a new national coach.

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) have put together a five-man recruitment panel which includes Harlequins coach O’Shea and former Scotland and Lions supremo Ian McGeechan, the Telegraph reports.

O’Shea and McGeechan, who is currently Director of Rugby at Bath, are expected to be included as the two Premiership Rugby representatives on the headhunting team to find Martin Johnson’s replacement.

They will be joined by Rob Andrew, the RFU’s professional rugby director, new chief executive Ian Ritchie, and head of elite coach development Kevin Bowring.

It is not the first time that O’Shea has been called upon to help the RFU. After leaving London Irish in 2005, the former Irish full-back took over as the RFU’s Director of Regional Academies for three years. While in that role, he was also asked to brief the English rugby team on the historic and political nuances of their trip to Croke Park in 2007.

O’Shea and the panel have no shortage of international candidates to sift through if they are to appoint a full-time coach before England depart for their tour of  South Africa this summer.

Stuart Lancaster looks likely to feature on the shortlist of candidates after overseeing Six Nations wins against Scotland and Italy and Saturday’s narrow defeat against Wales since taking the job on an interim basis in December.

Eddie O’Sullivan, former South Africa and Italy coach Nick Mallett, and former Italy and Japan coach John Kirwan are all thought to be interested.

But Wayne Smith, the former assistant coach with the All Blacks, ruled himself out of the running as he does not want to leave his new coaching post with the Chiefs until the Super 15 season finishes in August.

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