John Kirwan is backing Nick Mallett to be the next head coach of England.
Kirwan was interested in taking on the role himself but the New Zealander has been told he won’t be interviewed for the position.
The former All Black wing coached Italy and Japan at successive World Cups but his lack of experience with a top-tier nation has counted against him.
And now Kirwan is backing ex-South Africa, Italy and Stade Francais boss Mallett to be handed the reigns as the RFU look to appoint Martin Johnson’s permanent successor by the end of the 6 Nations.
"I think Nick Mallett would be perfect for it," said Kirwan.
"Nick is the ideal mix. He is highly intelligent, he understands what a team needs to win and he gets the best out of players.
"It will be a high-pressure situation going into a home World Cup (in 2015). I think Nick would be a great candidate for the job."
Ex-Ireland coach Eddie O’Sulliavn and interim England boss Stuart Lancaster are thought to have joined Mallett in securing interviews with the RFU.
And while clearly disappointed to have been overlooked, Kirwan admits he understands the decision, even if he felt his past experiences at World Cups might have given him a head start when it came to the RFU’s list of requirements.
"They contacted me saying I wouldn't go on to the next stage because they had a couple of other candidates that had more international experience than me," added Kirwan.
"They were looking for someone with a higher international profile. I understand that. They started out with something in mind and they are heading down that track.
"A World Cup is a special tournament. I am the most experienced World Cup coach there is and I know it like the back of my hand. I thought that might give me a bit of an in but it was always a long shot.
"I would like to be involved but I think there would have been a risk element in selecting me because I haven't had the experience of coaching a top-eight side.
"I can understand that. For me it was nothing ventured, nothing gained. The process was very professional."