Wayne Smith turns down England as Mike Catt is confirmed
Wayne Smith has decided to stay in New Zealand for personal reasons rather than join the England coaching team.
Wayne Smith said: “I was very impressed with Stuart [Lancaster] when I met him. He is an outstanding individual and will be a great plus for England Rugby and anyone who works in his team will be very fortunate. England have some fantastic young players and the opportunity to work with them ahead of the 2015 World Cup was very appealing. I also want to compliment the RFU on the way they have conducted the process. They have acted with integrity, diligence and patience.”
“It was an incredibly difficult decision but ultimately I have decided to stay in New Zealand, mainly for personal reasons. I took the job with the Chiefs so I could move nearer to elderly parents. I have travelled the globe with rugby for the last 15 years and I want to fulfil my commitment to be closer to them.
“I do also feel some loyalty to the Chiefs and the job that I have with them and leaving after eight months when I have a year left on my contract did not feel right.”
England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said: “Wayne rang me this morning and I fully respect his decision which, as he says, was a difficult one.
“He is clearly a coach of quality, honesty and integrity. I enjoyed meeting him and wish him all the best for the future in his coaching role with the Chiefs. All my energy will now go into preparing for an exciting tour to South Africa and I will reassess the coaching team post tour prior to the start of the QBE Internationals.”
The RFU also announced that Mike Catt will join the England coaching team for the five-match tour of South Africa next month. Mike will leave London Irish after their final Aviva Premiership match with Gloucester Rugby at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday and start work with England on May 7 through to June 30.
England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said: “Mike has played at the top level and is highly respected. He has done a great job whilst coaching at London Irish and we are looking forward to working with him on this South Africa tour. He is experienced in playing in South Africa and this will be invaluable as we prepare for this challenging and exciting tour.
“While Mike, Graham Rowntree and myself will lead on the coaching for the tour we will also have Jon Callard and Simon Hardy as part of the coaching team. Jon and Simon know the players well from their roles with the Saxons. They will assist in the preparation and support to the midweek teams and they will provide excellent specialist support in their individual areas with Jon supporting our kickers and Simon our hookers throughout the whole squad.”
Mike Catt said: “I was very impressed with England during the Six Nations, not just the way they played but the culture that is developing, and hopefully I can complement what Stuart and Graham are doing. There are some talented young players coming through and the chance to work with them for the Barbarians game and the tour is really exciting.
“I’ll be sad to leave London Irish and I want to say a huge thanks to all the players and coaches I have worked with since 2004. Toby Booth in particular deserves massive credit for what and how he has taught me. Thanks also to the supporters who have been brilliant over the last eight years and I will take away some lasting memories.”