The Queensland Reds coach Ewen McKenzie is the bookmakers' favourite to be Ireland's next national rugby coach with former Crusaders assistant Vern Cotter ruling himself out of the running.
Cotter, who is in charge at French club Clermont Auvergne, had been seen as a possible contender to replace Declan Kidney in tandem with his former Clermont assistant and now Leinster coach Joe Schmidt - who was also previously an assistant coach at the Blues.
But Cotter has another year to go with Clermont and intends honouring his contract.
Writing in the Belfast Telegraph, former Ireland first five Tony Ward advised the Ireland union to go for the Cotter-Schmidt combination.
McKenzie, once tipped as a likely replacement for Robbie Deans with the Wallabies, is in his last season as coaching director of the Reds.