A COMPLETE outsider has emerged as a candidate to be the next Newport rugby coach.

He is Alan Gaffney, an Australian currently assistant coach with top Irish province Leinster who have beaten Newport three times this season.

Ian McIntosh is expected to inform Newport in the near future that he cannot take up his option of a second year as coach at Rodney Parade.

He may continue to have some kind of consultancy role with Newport, but because of family reasons and the huge pressure he feels in the job, after he had already retired back in South Africa, he is not expected to stay.

McIntosh would be a huge loss having turned basically the same Newport squad as last season into a title chasing side and brought the best out of a number of players.

A Newport spokesman confirmed Gaffney is in discussions with the club about the possibility of becoming their coach next season.

The chances of Gaffney joining Newport rose this week when Leinster's chief coach, fellow Australian Matt Williams, signed a new three-year contract.

Williams was offered the job as Saracens coach in succession to Francois Pienaar, but turned it down to stay in Ireland.

Gaffney has been Williams' number two with Leinster and with Super 12 team New South Wales Waratahs. He also coached top club side Randwick for a number of years.

While not ruling out a Welsh coach, Newport owner Tony Brown is known to favour a Southern Hemisphere figure as long as he possesses similar inspirational qualities to McIntosh, partly because such a coach would be outside Welsh rugby's politics. But if the majority of Welsh clubs are in favour of 12 clubs at the extraordinary meeting a week tomorrow, people like Tony Brown could even disappear from the game. end