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Leinster make indirect contact but Robbie Deans says 'it won't be me'

Leinster job is very attractive, admitted Deans, but he claims to be happy in Japan.

Deans is due to meet the Irish media today.
Deans is due to meet the Irish media today.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

Updated 14.00

THE ODDS ON Jono Gibbes making a Leinster comeback have been slashed after Robbie Deans appeared to rule himself out of the running for the vacant head coach’s job.

Speaking ahead of the Barbarians’ clash with Ireland on Thursday, Deans revealed he had been in indirect contact with the province about succeeding the departed Matt O’Connor.

However, currently under contract with the Panasonic Wild Knights in Japan, Deans suggested that he will not be taking over at Leinster.

“I read a bit about that, it’s quite routine in these circles I guess,” said Deans at the luxurious Adare Manor this afternoon. “Leinster are looking for a coach and it’s a great opportunity for someone, but it won’t be me.”

Deans confirmed that Leinster had been “indirectly” in contact with him to sound out his interest in the role, but underlined that the timing is not right for him at present.

That’s right. I’ve got an existing contract with Panasonic and it’s actually exciting times for them. They’ve got a 100-year celebration coming up in 2018 and they’re at the stage of regeneration in the playing group. They’ve won two in a row and are quite keen to do three.

Asked about the length of his deal with the Wild Knights in Japan, Deans mysteriously said: “I’ve got a good term, but we’ll keep talking. Whether I see it out or not is something else. I’m really enjoying it, my wife’s enjoying it.”

As for the temptation offered up by Leinster, Deans confirmed that he might have been initially swayed by their reputation.

“It’s a great part of the world and it’s a very good club with proud history,” said Deans.

“Obviously, if I was in between jobs it would be something that was appealing. Penny [his wife] is visiting Ireland for the first time, so she’s out there looking at the place and really enjoying it, so who knows, we might get a bit of pressure tonight.”

The move potentially opens the door for Gibbes, who left his role as Leinster forwards coach last summer to move to Top 14 giants Clermont Auvergne. Paddy Power immediately cut his odds of taking the job to 17/10 favourite following Deans’ comments.

Another former Wallabies coach, Ewen McKenzie, appears to be the most likely alternative at this stage. McKenzie was interviewed for the Ireland job in 2013 before Joe Schmidt was appointed to succeed Declan Kidney.

There is also the possibility of Leinster continuing with an interim coaching team of Leo Cullen and Girvan Dempsey until the conclusion of this year’s World Cup.

-Originally published 9.30am

‘A lot of Limerick people might show up hoping the BaaBaas do well…’

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Niall Kelly

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