Smith rules himself out of England's top-job

by Staff Writer

Former All Blacks assistant coach Wayne Smith ruled himself out of the running as England manager on Thursday, saying the job sounded more suited to a public relations manager than a rugby mentor.

England is searching for a permanent coach after Martin Johnson quit in the wake of last year's disastrous World Cup campaign in New Zealand, where the team failed to make the semi-finals and was lambasted for poor off-field behaviour.

Smith, who had expressed interest on forming a management partnership with ex-Springboks coach Nick Mallett, said on Thursday he was not pursuing the role in the immediate future after making preliminary enquiries.

He told Wellington's Dominion Post newspaper that the job description he had been supplied with was "waffly and looked like it was for the head of a PR company, rather than a rugby coach".

But the New Zealander denied reports that the revamped role, designed to increase accountability and avoid the headlines that battered England's image during the World Cup, was the reason for his lack of interest.

He said the timing of the appointment, scheduled to begin with England's tour of South Africa in June, clashed with his new role as assistant coach of Super Rugby club the Chiefs.

"I have a moral obligation to fulfil my time here with the Chiefs," he said.

Smith, who helped guide New Zealand to World Cup success, said he still wanted to return to international coaching and was not ruling out a role with England in the future.

"I'm interested down the track if it fits in and they want me to have an involvement," he said.

"I want to coach at that level again and that's a team that has got a fair bit of potential, but this opportunity just didn't fit in with me."

Stuart Lancaster is acting as England's caretaker coach during their defence of the Six Nations title.

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