Wayne Smith ponders England coaching offer
April 26, 2012
Wayne Smith helped steer the All Blacks to the 2011 Rugby World Cup crown © Getty Images
Former All Blacks coach Wayne Smith will decide in the next '10 days' whether to accept an offer to join the England coaching team.
England coach Stuart Lancaster is under increasing pressure to bolster his coaching team after losing the services of assistant coach Andy Farrell following this year's Six Nations. London Irish attack coach Mike Catt has been tipped for a temporary appointment ahead of the forthcoming tour of South Africa but Lancaster met with Smith last weekend to discuss a permanent role in the England set-up.
Smith took up a two-year contract with Waikato-based Super Rugby side the Chiefs after helping to orchestrate the All Blacks' 2011 Rugby World Cup triumph but it is understood that he has an exit clause that could see him link up with England at the end of the current Super Rugby season in August.
"I've got some major considerations to make over the next 10 days," said Smith, who also revealed that a number of different roles - backs coach, defence coach and head coach - were tabled by Lancaster who could be poised for a move into a director of rugby role.
"I love being a head coach," he said. "The only question I had over the England job that was advertised, the actual job description of the role, was that it was more in line with strategically running the team.
"It didn't appear to be a 'track-suited' role. I couldn't imagine a foreigner coming in and running the All Blacks. I'm of the belief that it's right that an Englishman does that for the English team. I'm pretty used to being the head man. I'm always comfortable in that role."
Smith also offered a ringing endorsement of Lancaster's approach to breathing new life into the England squad. "He's very humble and he knows what needs to be done over there because it's not just about coaching the players as we've found out here with the All Blacks," Smith said.
"It's aligning all your provincial coaches and club coaches because they're the people coaching your players. Getting them on-side and getting the buy-in to the national team being strong and vibrant and challenging the best in the world is pretty important. That will be his major role. He wants some on-field coaches, he will be in charge of strategy and alignment, and the campaign overall."
Smith is also unsure whether he could coach a side against the All Blacks having also served as head coach between 2000-2001. "Having put the last eight years of my life into coaching the All Blacks and trying to win the World Cup, I'm going to have to search inside myself to see whether I could coach a team against them," Smith said. "It's not just going to any team, it's going to a team that over time will potentially challenge the All Blacks, so I've got to be clear in my mind that I could be a part of that."
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