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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 February 2006, 10:18 GMT
Johnson close to Australia return
Scott Johnson
Wales skills coach Scott Johnson seems set to return to his native Australia after the RBS Six Nations campaign.

The Australian Rugby Union appointed John Connolly, the former Bath and Swansea coach, as the new Wallabies head coach on Wednesday.

Johnson and Michael Foley, the Bath forwards coach, are now favourite to be named as Connolly's assistant coaches.

However, ARU chief executive Gary Flowers confirmed that negotiations were still ongoing for those roles.

The loss of Johnson, hugely popular with fans and the Wales players alike, would definitely be Wales' loss and Australia's gain.

It is certainly not the sort of news the Wales camp would wish for just 48 hours before they begin the defence of their Six Nations title with a tough opener against England at Twickenham.

But if he goes back down under, the decision is likely to hinge on Johnson's personal situation, with family considerations rather than employment contracts the deciding factor.

"It's a delicate area, the appropriate people are informed," Johnson said last month.

"It involves a few people at home in Australia. I'm not talking about job prospects here, but individuals and family members.

"My decision will be made with their best interests in mind."

While it seems there are still some details that need to be finalised, the Sydney Morning Herald rugby correspondent, Greg Growden, is sure that Johnson will soon take up a role with the Wallabies.

"My understanding is that he has virtually agreed to come back," Growden told BBC Sport.

"I also know he has told the ARU not to pressure him while he is involved with Wales in the Six Nations and the ARU has agreed to that.

"But I was told by a high-ranking ARU official, not long ago, that Scott Johnson is about 95% coming their way.

"There's just a few little things that have to be cleared up before that can be announced."

Johnson has been part of the Wales coaching set-up since February 2001.

He has been credited as being a major factor in the adoption of the exciting attacking style that last season earned Wales their first Grand Slam for 27 years.




SEE ALSO
Bath will want Foley compensation
01 Feb 06 |  Rugby Union
Johnson crucial for RWC - Moffett
15 Dec 05 |  Six Nations
Johnson coy on Australia job link
02 Dec 05 |  Six Nations


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