Robbie Deans looks increasingly likely to remain Australia head coach beyond this year’s World Cup.
The New Zealander is expected to sign a new contract with the Australian Rugby Union up until the end of the 2013 Super Rugby season, meaning he would be in the man in charge when the Lions head Down Under in two years time.
Although nothing has yet been confirmed by the ARU, newspaper speculation is also suggesting that Deans could even be offered a contract up until the end of the 2015 World Cup.
An official announcement will not be made until after the conclusion of this year’s Super 15 in July but the Sydney Morning Herald reports that an extension to Deans’ current deal is looking more and more probable, especially after the comments of ARU chairman John O’Neill.
''Personally, I am a great Robbie Deans supporter, and the prospect of him extending his contract is something I am very much in favour of," O’Neill told the Herald.
O’Neill is thought to have strong support at boardroom level to offer Deans a two-year extension with a further two-year option.
Deans endured a difficult start to his Wallaby career having taken over from John Connolly in 2008 but the former All Black has since gained in popularity as his side produced a series of fine performances while introducing a number of promising youngsters into a previously aging squad.
Victories over South Africa in Bloemfontein, the All Blacks in Hong Kong and France in Paris last year have taken the early pressure off Deans, who has a success rate of 55.8 per cent from 24 wins and a draw in 43 Tests.