ARU high performance unit general manager Pat Wilson said he 'had informal chats' with Deans, a close friend, but added: "We've discussed it with a number of people in a very preliminary sense. The key criteria is to get the best candidate."
However, the former All Black rejected rumours of official talks about the Wallabies post.
"I don't even want to talk about it, I'm sick of talking about that. It's been going on for yonks and it doesn't warrant any comment," he told The Sunday News.
Crusaders chief executive officer Hamish Riach said the franchise was preparing for next season's Super 14 with their coach at the helm.
"We're still very hopeful he'll be here in 2008 and we're looking forward to working with him," he added.
"We're assuming he's going to be with us for the Super 14 next year. I don't know what else he's going to do around that."