Dave Wessels says no formal decision has been made on his future in response to reports he is close to signing with Munster.
Wessels told RUGBY.com.au he would make a decision in the next couple of days, meaning the Rebels remain a chance of securing his signature.
Wessels was at the top of the Rebels' priority list and the Melbourne franchise were confident they would get their man for the start of the 2018 Super Rugby season.
Munster's addition to the race for his signature was a significant curve ball.
Wessels has worked under outgoing coach Rassie Erasmus before, having served as an analyst when the pair were at the Stormers.
With Erasmus set to return to South Africa to take up a role as director of rugby, Wessels was identified as the outstanding candidate for the job and he has been in Ireland discussing his future over the past week.
"Are we getting close to getting someone? Yes we are," IRFU performance director David Nucifora said.
"I'm hopeful we will have an answer to this sooner rather than later so we can engineer a really well-delivered handover between the two coaching groups.
"You don't usually get that chance, this is a coordinated approach.
"We've spoken to a number of people over the last number of months.
"I'd be hopeful that we'd have news for you in the short-term."
If Wessels was to leave the Australian coaching ranks it would be a significant blow.
Force players and staff speak very highly of him and he has been stamped as a potential replacement for Michael Cheika, when the current Wallabies coach moves on after the 2019 World Cup.Several Force players are set to join the Rebels but some are insistent on Wessels following suit as a sticking point.
This would throw a spanner in the works and Nucifora said he felt the club was close to getting a deal done.
"We're working diligently on it," he said.
"Yes, we feel we're getting close to doing something but in any negotiation things can move at the last minute, you never quite know until it's done but we feel that we're close.
"We're making good progress.
"At the moment we're talking to one person, but we've spoken to multiple over a period of time.
"But at the moment we're talking to one so that's why I can say we are getting closer."