NZRU desperate to keep Smith
April 27, 2012
Wayne Smith appears to be the RFU's choice to replace Andy Farrell © Getty Images
The New Zealand Rugby Union has declared that they are desperate to keep Wayne Smith amid reports that he is considering an approach from the Rugby Football Union to join Stuart Lancaster's coaching team.
Lancaster is reported to have met Smith in South Africa earlier this week and has since labelled the World Cup winning coach the "standout candidate" to replace interim backs coach Andy Farrell. But with Smith currently in charge of the Chiefs, the NZRU's CEO Steve Tew has claimed that they "will do everything to keep Wayne" in New Zealand.
"We consider him to be an incredible asset to New Zealand rugby, not just the All Blacks," Tew told the Guardian. "He has worked incredibly hard on behalf of this organisation for an extended period of time so he has earned our respect to make whatever decision he wants to make and we are certainly not going to leave him without options but we are desperately keen to keep him in New Zealand.
"He is one of our intellectual properties. He has been with us for so long and been such an important contributor to developing things that work in our environment that we think he is a special case to protect. He has achieved an enormous amount as a coach and he loves coaching and he loves a challenge. We are dead keen to find a solution but there is no easy one."
Smith has guided the Chiefs to the top of the New Zealand conference and one of their star performers - fellow World Cup winner Richard Kahui - has backed the coach to shine for England, if he makes the switch.
"If Wayne goes to England, he will make them better," Kahui said. "There are no short-cuts with him and he leaves nothing to chance. That is why our defence has turned around this season.
"He is a great man who knows how to get the best out of people. If he were to go to England, it would not only be a great loss to the Chiefs and the game in New Zealand, it would be a worrying sign."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.