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No Irish in running for scrum coach role

THERE is still no decision on Ireland's new scrum coach months after it was advertised but one thing is certain according to reports -- he won't be Irish.

The selection committee has whittled the candidates down to three but none of the names still under consideration have worn the green jersey.

The position was posted back in March after Ireland's embarrassing capitulation at scrum-time in Twickenham as England's pack devoured Ireland in a 30-9 win.

The fact that the vacancy remains unfilled is a source of frustration for the IRFU and players.

When the job was advertised IRFU chief executive Philip Browne said that the role will encompass the creation of a national scrummaging strategy that will involve school and academy systems.

"Appointing a national scrummaging coach is something that we should have done before this," Browne said back in March.

Leinster scrum coach Greg Feek is already involved with the international side as a consultant.

Ireland coach Declan Kidney, who has bemoaned the fact that Irish provinces have been heavily reliant on recruiting overseas props, said this week there was no issue over the delay.

"Negotiations are ongoing and I'd imagine there'd be something sooner rather than later. You can fill a slot easily but you have to make sure you fill it with the right person," he said.

Kidney has already this week stated that there is no need for a new backs coach to replace Alan Gaffney who left after last year's World Cup, suggesting Les Kiss will continue to juggle his roles as defence and backs coach.

It is believed former Italian international and one-time Scotland scrum coach Massimo Cuttita withdrew his acceptance of the position last summer as he felt the role was ill-defined.

Last night an IRFU spokesperson said: "As we are currently in the middle of the process, it would not be pertinent to comment."

Meanwhile, new Munster flanker Sean Dougall says he is anxious to repay the faith shown in him by coach Rob Penney.

The 22-year-old is the first to admit he could hardly have dreamt of a better start to his Munster career with Penney throwing him in at the deep end.

The former Ulster academy player was selected for all three pre-season games and started at openside flanker for the opening three PRO12 games.