KUMAGAYA, SAITAMA PREF. – Robbie Deans and Rob Penney both ruled themselves out Saturday of becoming head coach of the Brave Blossoms or the boss of Japan’s new Super Rugby side the Sunwolves.
Deans, who previously coached the Crusaders and Australia before taking over Panasonic Wild Knights, told Kyodo News: “I told the JRFU (Japan Rugby Football Union) some time ago that I was not interested in either role.
“I enjoy working at Panasonic. They are a good club and a good group of men who play for each other and I enjoy the program there.”
The former All Blacks fullback, who has won more Super Rugby titles than any other coach said he was quite happy in his current base of Ota, Gunma Prefecture.
“I did 12 years in Super Rugby and won seven tankards — five as head coach and two as manager. I am not interested in living out of a suitcase, especially with the itinerary those guys (the Sunwolves) have been given,” Deans said.
“I am not looking at returning to international rugby or Super Rugby. I have done my time there.”
His compatriot Penney, meanwhile, said despite rumors linking him with both jobs, he has not been in contact with the JRFU.
“No one has talked to me,” the former Munster and New Zealand under 20s coach told Kyodo.
“I have another year left with NTT (Communications Shining Arcs) and am very committed to them. I am really enjoying my role here.”
The JRFU is understood to have a list of five candidates it hopes to talk to regarding the Brave Blossoms job.
Kyodo has learned from a reliable source that former New Zealand and Japan international and current Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph tops that list, and a decision is expected to be made on Dec. 17 when the JRFU next holds a council meeting.
As far as the Sunwolves are concerned, a source has told Kyodo that current Yamaha Jubilo coach Katsuyuki Kiyomiya is the favorite for the job.
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