Smith respectfully snubs England

Smith respectfully snubs England

England have been dealt a blow after Wayne Smith decided to stay in New Zealand for personal reasons rather than join Stuart Lancaster's team.

Smith was one of the "three wise men" - along with Graham Henry and Steve Hansen - who guided the All Blacks to their 2011 RWC triumph.

Lancaster met with Smith, the ex-Saints boss, for dinner in Durban on April 20 to discuss a possible role and to sell his vision for the future.

"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," said Smith after snubbing the role.

"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 he understood Smith's decision, with former England international full-back Mike Catt taking the role for the tour to South Africa.

"Wayne rang me this morning and I fully respect his decision which, as he says, was a difficult one," he said.

"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."