Brian Lochore not available to coach NI selection

RICHARD KNOWLER
Last updated 05:00 11/05/2012

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Sir Brian Lochore has declined an invitation to coach in next month's North v South match.

Lochore, a former international loose forward who guided the All Blacks to their 1987 World Cup title, turned down a request to take charge of the North team for the June 10 match in Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium because he had made a prior commitment.

"I can't do it because I have already got another engagement on that date," he said yesterday.

"I'm sure the match is a good thing and for a good cause, but unfortunately I have already made another commitment on that date. I hope it goes well for them."

The search for high-profile coaches to add some credibility to the fundraising match is continuing but no Super coaches will be involved.

They are understood to be cool on the concept because they want to use the June test window to prepare themselves and their non-All Blacks for the final three regular season matches ahead of the playoffs.

Several other high-profile candidates, such as Sir Graham Henry (North) and Laurie Mains (South), are also likely to have had their names bandied about by organisers.

The North-South fixture, which will be played the day after the All Blacks meet Ireland in their opening test at Eden Park, will raise funds for the financially beleaguered Otago Rugby Football Union.

The New Zealand Rugby Players' Association has been one of the key drivers of the game, which will be played on an afternoon and screened live on Sky 2. Teams will not be confirmed until All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has named his 30-man squad on June 3.

Although Players' Association boss Rob Nichol has previously said the game would be a competitive affair, those involved are likely to have only a few days to prepare before returning to their franchises.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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