Coach Jake White has quit the ACT Brumbies just two months after leading the club to the Super Rugby final.
White approached chief executive Andrew Fagan last Friday to ask to be released from the final two years of his contract for personal reasons - with the club reluctantly agreeing.
Fagan said: "I'd have to say that I was shocked when Jake called to tell me that he was intending to stay in South Africa.
"We are well into our planning for next season and have lots of great things happening on and off the field as we build on the momentum of making this year's final.
"To have Jake decide that he wants to pursue his international coaching ambitions from South Africa at this late stage is disappointing. He has achieved a great deal for the Brumbies and we felt he certainly had more to offer.
"But I understand his reasons for seeking the release. He was obviously very disappointed in missing out on the Wallabies' job and he sees his best opportunity to further his international coaching career is from South Africa.
"He also has two sons who live in South Africa who he misses a great deal so when I sit back and look at it I can understand why he has made his decision."
Assistant coaches Laurie Fisher and Stephen Larkham will take control of the team in the short term while permanent options are investigated.
White, who guided South Africa to World Cup glory in 2007, has been linked with possible roles at the Sharks and the Stormers.