Rugby Southland will begin interviewing next week for next season's head coach.
General manager Brian Hopley said a shortlist of applicants had been completed and the first round of interviews was about to start.
In a perfect world, an appointment would be made before Christmas, but that was only an outside chance given the tight time frame, Hopley said.
Incumbent David Henderson and Southland development coach Damien Pine have confirmed they put their names forward for the selection process.
Henderson was involved in Rugby Southland's selection of cross-over games for next year's games.
The Stags will take on Ranfurly Shield holders Counties Manukau, newly promoted Tasman, Taranaki and defending champions Canterbury from the premiership.
A draft draw would sent out to unions next month and the 2014 NPC draw would be confirmed in February.
- The Southland Times
Will Counties Manukau defend the Ranfurly Shield all season?