Leicester Tigers coach Matt O'Connor is now favourite to succeed Joe Schmidt, whose move to Lansdowne Road from Leinster will be confirmed by the IRFU tomorrow.
It is understood that O'Connor visited Leinster's new HQ in UCD last week and met with staff and some senior players. A Leicester source confirmed last night that O'Connor's position in Welford Road hadn't been nailed down for next season.
The Australian (42) joined Leicester in 2008 as assistant to Heyneke Meyer and was retained when Meyer returned to South Africa the following year.
While Richard Cockerill is director of rugby at Leicester, O'Connor is head coach with a reputation as being technically excellent.
O'Connor coached the Brumbies back line for four seasons and had three years with Australia A before moving to Leicester.