Northampton Saints head coach Jim Mallinder has ruled himself out of the running for the England head coach job, admitting that he didn’t even apply for the position.
Mallinder had been installed as one of the favourites by those assessing online slots reviews to be the permanent successor to Martin Johnson following the former England captain’s resignation after a disastrous World Cup campaign last year.
Stuart Lancaster has taken over on a short-term basis and has so far done his chances of being handed the job permanently with two wins from his two games in charge so far.
England were able to grind out their first win at Murrayfield since 2004 when they played Scotland two weeks ago to get the defence of their 6 Nations crown up and running, while a narrow win over Italy in Rome helped move the Red Rose to the top of the table.
Numerous names have been linked with the position including former New Zealand head coach Graham Henry and his assistant Wayne Smith, but the pair have both also said they have intention of taking up the post.
With the deadline for applications coming to a close on Wednesday, Mallinder revealed he did not apply for the ‘best job in the world’ because he felt the timing was not right.
"No, I've not applied," Mallinder told the BBC. "It's probably the best job in the world coaching wise. What a great opportunity. But it's got to be the right thing at the right time."
"At the moment I'm concerned with getting Northampton to win something,” he added.
The 45-year-old also revealed he had held discussions with RFU director of operations Rob Andrew about his desire to coach England ‘one day’.
"I spoke to (Rugby Football Union director of operations) Rob Andrew a month or so ago. As I have done previously, I expressed that one day I think it's a tremendous job to do," He commented.
Mallinder has forged a reputation as one of the most highly-rated English coaches in the game having taken Northampton to the Heineken Cup final last year while also transforming them into perennial Aviva Premiership challengers.
The Saints currently sit in 3rd place in the league table, and while they sit 14 points behind league leaders Harlequins they remain in the driving seat for a play-off spot.
With one of the front runners ruling himself out of the running for the job the RFU appear to have a clear cut choice between Lancaster, and former Italy head coach Nick Mallet, who has been linked with the position.
Northampton meanwhile rounded off a good day after warding off interest in their head coach by revealing lock Christian Day had penned a new deal to keep him at Franklin Gardens, while Samu Manoa signed on the dotted line for a further three years on Wednesday.