John Kirwan backed Nick Mallett to take the England head coaching job this summer, after revealing that the headhunting firm in charge of the recruitment process, Odgers Berndston, had informed the former Italy and Japan coach that he would not be forwarded to the interview stage due to the fact that he had not coached a leading nation. The two candidates apparently available matching that criteria are Mallett, and former Ireland and USA coach Eddie O’Sullivan.
Despite only two months in the job, Stuart Lancaster has also made it further than Kirwan to the interview stage. “They (Odgers) contacted me saying I wouldn’t go on to the next stage because they had a couple of other candidates that had more international experience than me,” Kirwan said. “They were looking for someone with a higher international profile. I understand that. They started out with something in mind and they are heading down that track.”
“I think Nick Mallett would be perfect for it. Nick is the ideal mix. He is highly intelligent, he understands what a team needs to win and he gets the best out of players. It will be a high-pressure situation (coaching England) into a home World Cup (in 2015). I think Nick would be a great candidate for the job.”
Despite his 17 match unbeaten run with South Africa, Mallett has also spent time coaching Italy with a similar amount of little success as Kirwan had before him, despite beating France in last year’s Six Nations. Given that Mallett’s success with his home country was over 10 years ago (from 1997-2000), there is a strong argument that his time has been and gone.
What do you make of the RFU’s decision to not even interview Kirwan given the list of candidates? Are Mallett, Lancaster and O’Sullivan good enough?