NICK Mallett is the first choice on the shortlist to become Gloucester’s new director of rugby.
The Cherry and Whites, still seething from their defeat to relegated Worcester Warriors on Saturday, axed Nigel Davies in a shock move on Monday morning.
But while speed of the announcement came as a surprise it is understood the decision was in the pipeline following a disappointing season, which saw the club slump to ninth in the Aviva Premiership.
A shopping list has already been drawn up and former South Africa coach Mallett is at the top. Newport Gwent Dragons director of rugby Lyn Jones is also a contender, as is his assistant and former Gloucester captain, Kingsley Jones.
Dean Richards, who was linked to the role earlier this season, will also be considered although it would take a substantial sum for Newcastle Falcons to release him from the remainder of his contract.
An alternative idea being considered is to hand player-coach Mike Tindall, whose own future is up in the air, and scrum guru Trevor Woodman the reins.
But English-born Mallett, who led the Springboks on a record 17-match winning streak, is the board’s preferred choice.
The 57-year-old has been out of a full-time job since his contract with Italy expired following the 2011 World Cup and he has been linked with England during that time.
Mallett undoubtedly possesses a wealth of experience on both the international and domestic stage.
He has previously enjoyed stints at Stade Francais and Western Province. The former Oxford Blue will take charge of a World XV, including Jimmy Cowan, that will take on the Springboks in June.