Esher’s chairman of rugby John Inverdale is hopeful that the club will have a new head coach in place by Monday.

The Molesey Road outfit have been conducting interviews since former coach Ollie Smith stepped down suddenly last month citing concerns over the direction in which the club was going.

Inverdale said the club have cut a shortlist down to two names, and hope to make a decision soon.

Candidates for the top job have been taken from inside and outside the club, including the interim coach Ricky Nebbitt.

He said: “I was asked if I was interested in the job and for the sake of continuity I was happy to be considered.

“It was not something I had thought about. I was just interested in keeping the guys training hard for the new season.

“Ollie’s departure, although it was sudden, has not affected the group. They are a tight bunch of boys.”

He added: “I’ve not heard anything either way about the job, I am just waiting to see what happens.”

Inverdale said: “We are talking to a couple of people this week, so the process is still ongoing. But we are hopeful of having someone in place by Monday.”

Meanwhile, forward trio Stewart Maguire, Kristian Chesney and Cameron Gentles have committed themselves to the club for another season.

Maguire, 23, a loose-head prop who has played for Connacht and Newport Gwent Dragons, made 19 appearances for Esher last season.

Former Saracens lock Chesney, 39, played 21 times, and is key to coaching in line-outs, while New Zealander Gentles made 15 appearances in his first season at Molesley Road, before a knee injury cut it short – however, he is back in training.

Esher’s fresh assault on the National League One title starts on September 7 at neighbours Richmond, and the pre-season currently kicks off on August 24 with a visit from Cardiff.