European heavyweights Leicester Tigers are hoping to beat the South African Rugby Union (SARU) in the race for the signature of Durban-based Sharks coach Dick Muir.
Jan de Koning writes for Rugby 365 that according to a report in London’s Daily Mail, Leicester have already had initial talks with Muir, with a view to appointing him as head coach at Welford Road for next season.
Muir said on Monday that he had not personally spoken to anybody at the Tigers.
However, the Sharks coach told rugby365.com: “That doesn’t mean they haven’t spoken to my agent.”
The Sharks coach, who is in line to join new Springbok coach Peter de Villiers’ coaching staff as a backline specialist, added that he would not be making any decisions about his future until after the Super 14 season.
Muir’s charges, currently in sixth place, need to win their remaining matches – both of which are at home – against the Cheetahs and Chiefs to reach the play-offs.
Muir confirmed that he has already had talks with SA Rugby (Pty) Ltd – the commercial arm of SARU – over the possibility of taking up the Bok job.
“SA Rugby are keen to sort something out,” Muir told rugby365.com. “I have already spoken to them, but for now I must concentrate on the Super 14… then I can look at the other stuff,” he added.
Current Tigers coach Marcelo Loffreda could be sidelined after a disappointing first season in Leicester – with the Tigers needing to beat Harlequins at Welford Road this coming Saturday (May 10), to secure a spot in next season’s Heineken Cup competition.
A win over Quins, who, ironically, are coached by former Tigers boss Dean Richards, could see them sneak into the top four and the Guinness Premiership play-offs, but that would require other teams – such as London Wasps – losing in the final round.
Having lost (25-28) to the lowly Newcastle Falcons at the weekend, it heightened speculation that Loffreda’s tenure at Tigers would come to an end after just one season – after the Argentinean failed to reproduce the magic that saw him guide the Pumas to third place in the World Cup last year (a first-ever semifinal) and also a top three place on the International Rugby Board (IRB) rankings.
But Muir – who guided the table-topping Sharks to the Super 14 Final last year, only to be defeated in the final minute by a Bryan Habana moment of magic – could find himself working at Tigers under Loffreda, who could be maintained as a Director of Rugby, according to the Mail’s report.Tweet