Italian World Cup coach Nick Mallett has put his search for a new job on the backburner to concentrate fully on next month’s Help for Heroes Challenge Match at Twickenham. The former South Africa head coach is currently out of work after his contract with the Azzurri came to an end after the World Cup in New Zealand, but he is relishing the chance of taking charge of the Southern Hemisphere team in the big game at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday, 3 December.
Even though he has been tipped as a contender for a top post within the England rugby ranks, and has several leading French clubs chasing his services, Mallett is looking no further than joining forces with Sean Fitzpatrick and Michael Lynagh in preparing the South XV to face their Northern rivals in the big charity clash.
Among the players he will be working with are Aussie stars Joe Roff and Phil Waugh, All Blacks Andrew Mehrtens and Justin Marshall and ex-Springbok AJ Venter.
“My only commitment from a coaching point of view is the ‘Help for Heroes’ game on 3 December. I’ve been asked to coach the southern hemisphere team with Wayne Smith,” said Mallett. “That is an exciting prospect and I’ve not spoken to anyone about international coaching positions. But I would consider each on their own merits if it happens. “I have been contacted regarding a few coaching jobs in the Top 14, but I don’t think I’ll take anything before June 2012.”
Mallett and Smith will coach the team from ‘Down Under’, while Dean Ryan will head the Northern coaching cast as he works alongside Lawrence Dallaglio, Ieuan Evans and Jason Leonard. World Cup winner Will Greenwood will be joined by Danny Grewcock, in the Northern Hemisphere squad, as well as Irish legends Malcolm O’Kelly and Alan Quinlan.
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This year’s fixture, which will mark the tenth anniversary of Armed Forces Operations in Afghanistan, promises to be an even bigger attraction than the first Help for Heroes match in 2008, when over 52,000 spectators helped raise £1.46m for Help for Heroes.
Heroes Rugby Challenge supported by J.P. Morgan, Saturday 3 December 2011 at Twickenham Stadium, kicks off at 1630. Ticket prices start at £15 for adults, £10 for under 16’s, and are available through Ticketmaster. For more information please visit: heroesrugby.org.uk