Waratahs lifeline for under-fire Robbie Deans?
Robbie Deans looks to be on borrowed time with the Wallabies but still might be able to stay employed on the Australian scene with the vacant Waratahs Super Rugby job a potential lifeline.
Deans' future in charge of the national side continues to create a buzz across the Tasman in the wake of the twin defeats against the All Blacks.
His bosses had targeted a return of the Bledisloe Cup after 10 years as a priority but that evaporated in last Saturday's 22-nil pasting at Eden Park.
It was the manner of that defeat that has increased pressure on Deans with the Wallabies showing nothing on attack and suffering their first blanking in 50 years.
The Wallabies have had a wretched run against the All Blacks under Deans and there have been embarrassing losses to Samoa and Scotland as well in recent times.
It's been suggested he escaped dismissal by the narrowest of margins when the Wallabies scraped home in three tight tests against Wales in June.
The world No 2 ranking is all that is keeping him afloat but there is renewed pressure to solidify that over the rest of the Rugby Championship against the Springboks and Argentina.
Deans, who took over the Wallabies in 2008, has another year to run on his contract but speculation mounts that his time could be over before the season is out. His greatest ally remains the man who lured him to the job, Australian rugby CEO John O'Neill.
But hiccups against the Boks or Pumas could prove decisive.
Reds coach Ewen McKenzie waits in the wings as patience wears thin and the clamour to get an Australian back in charge of the Wallabies gets louder.
Deans' coaching lifeline could come via the Waratahs who have lost coach Michael Foley to the Western Force after another year of underachievement.
Dean's Super Rugby credentials are impeccable after his title-winning deeds at the Crusaders.
Taking on the Waratahs would allow him to remain settled in Sydney.
The Waratahs have been taking a patient approach to filling their coaching role. They have sounded out two high-profile candidates in Wayne Smith and Nick Mallett to no avail.