Leinster coach Joe Schmidt has confirmed that he will meet with the IRFU this week to discuss taking over the position of Ireland head coach.
A number of candidates are expected to be interviewed for the post, with Schmidt the favourite to succeed Declan Kidney, who was sacked two weeks ago.
Schmidt has led Leinster to two Heineken Cup successes in recent years.
"I think the job is open at the moment and I'm going to speak to them (the IRFU) this week," said Schmidt.
"If they believe I'm one of the contenders that's fine, and it's something I've also got to reconcile with Leinster and my position here."
Les Kiss, the interim coach for the two-test North America summer tour, is also thought to be on the shortlist.
Former Australia prop Ewen McKenzie has expressed an interest in the job, but it is not known if he is being considered for the vacant position.
Schmidt has a year remaining of his Leinster contract and has had his share of run-ins with the Irish hierarchy.
Although the Leinster management would be reluctant to lose their coach, ultimately they may feel obliged not to stand in his way.
"In world rugby, it would be an attractive post, no doubt," said Schmidt. "But, for me, it's the commitment I've made to Leinster that is one thing.
"I've probably stuggled at times with the IRFU, and they've struggled with me. Inevitably that may be an issue as well.
"I'm going to talk to the IRFU on Wednesday or Thursday, so I'll know a bit more by Friday, hopefully."
Schmidt was keen to emphasise that nothing has been agreed upon with the IRFU as yet.
"It's all speculation at the moment. Once things happen this week it might all become clearer, but I'm not very good at speculation. I've had my head elsewhere, to be honest," he said.