The ACT Brumbies are nervously watching Rugby Australia's coaching movements for the second time in three years after Dan McKellar emerged as a Wallabies target.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported McKellar has been approached by Rugby Australia staff about his interest in stepping into a Wallabies assistant coach's role to be a part of Dave Rennie's rebuild.
There has been no formal offer and talks are yet to progress, but Rennie is keen to build a strong support staff when he takes the reins later this year.
Some inside Rugby Australia view McKellar as the heir apparent to Rennie. The counter argument is McKellar is three years into his head coaching career and Rennie is yet to start his four-year contract, making any predictions premature.
The Brumbies and Rugby Australia declined to comment on Friday.
It's understood the Brumbies were aware of the Wallabies' interest in McKellar but are keen to keep him in the capital after an impressive start to his career.
McKellar led the Brumbies back to the finals last year and has won three of four games this season. He signed a contract extension last year and has 18 months left on his existing deal.
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The club versus country debate has been a hot topic in the capital after Stephen Larkham quit Super Rugby at the end of 2017 to be a full-time Wallabies assistant.
Larkham was viewed as Michael Cheika's Test successor, but poor results and a falling out between the pair led to Larkham being sacked before the World Cup last year.
The Brumbies view McKellar as the man capable of leading them to a drought-breaking title and some fear exposing him to the Wallabies set up may halt his coaching progression.
The former Queensland prop has established himself as a coach on the rise in his first three years and he is ushering in a new generation of players in Canberra.
If he opts to choose Super Rugby over the Wallabies, it's believed his ACT assistant Laurie Fisher could be the next Rugby Australia target.
Rennie is searching for a forwards guru to help refresh his team after a disastrous World Cup campaign.
McKellar was the Brumbies' forwards coach before stepping into the top job. He is still in charge of forwards play, while Fisher is the defence coach and Peter Hewat is the backs coach.
Part of Rugby Australia's director of rugby Scott Johnson's directive is to ensure there is a player and coaching production line.
McKellar is the only Australian born coach of the four Super Rugby franchises, while several others have been forced to move overseas.
Brumbies insiders are confident the Wallabies' interest will not derail their start to the season, but they hope any appointment is finalised soon to give them time to plan for life after McKellar if he is lured into the Test set up.
The Brumbies snapped a 13-year drought in Hamilton last week and a five-year drought anywhere in New Zealand when they beat the Waikato Chiefs.
They have a bye this weekend before resuming their season with a rescheduled clash against the Japan Sunwolves in Wollongong on Friday afternoon.
The Wallabies' interest, however, is a nod to the way the Brumbies are nurturing their coaches and a group of young players.
Hewat is the Australian schoolboys coach while Fisher is considered a forwards expert. There are also several young Brumbies who could force their way into the Test set up this year.