Ireland boss Eddie O'Sullivan's prospects of leading the 2009 Lions tour to South Africa have receded following the announcement the coach does not have to be drawn from the four home nations.
O’Sullivan was favourite for the job before Ireland’s disastrous World Cup put a major dent in his coaching reputation.
The Lions committee are ready to look beyond the coaches of the four home nations with Wasps director of rugby Ian McGeechan the early favourite to land the job.
Lions chief executive John Feehan said: 'The process will be that each of the unions will be invited to submit a name. However, that will not be the exclusive route.
'If there's an alternative candidate who's a better option, then he will also be considered.”