June International Tours

England close to securing Exiles’ Brian Smith


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Brian Smith, the London Irish director of rugby, is on the verge of signing up as England attack coach despite a tug of war for his services over the last week which has seen the club’s chairman, Andrew Coppel, castigate the RFU for breaking a code of conduct which prohibits an approach to a coach with more than six months left on his contract, writes Nick Cain in The Times.

Smith is contracted to the Exiles for a further year, however, Martin Johnson, England’s new manager, expects to have him signed before the start of next season due to a nifty bit of procedural footwork, with Smith believed to have applied formally for the post after it was advertised on the RFU website, with a closing date of May 23rd.

Smith is unlikely to be available for the summer tour of New Zealand, but will be there to shape England’s attack for an autumn international series that will have a crucial bearing on their 2011 World Cup seeding.

It is also possible that his brief could be expanded to that of head coach, with Johnson revealing that the coaching title on offer would depend on the calibre of the candidate.

This is a bitter pill for London Irish, who have done their best to head off the RFU raid on Smith, a prized asset who took them to their first Heineken Cup semi-final three weeks ago, when they narrowly lost to Toulouse.

However, it appears to have been in vain with Smith, who played international rugby for Australia and Ireland, intent on stepping into the international coaching arena.




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