England Rugby
Smith: Lancaster can learn from Woodward
ESPN Staff
May 4, 2012
New Zealand assistant coach Wayne Smith answers questions at a press conference, Spencer On Byron Hotel, Auckland, New Zealand, October 8, 2011
Wayne Smith has opted to stay with the Chiefs © Getty Images

Wayne Smith has admitted that he was impressed by Stuart Lancaster after being approached to succeed Andy Farrell as England attack coach.

The former All Blacks assistant - part of their Rugby World Cup-winning backroom staff in 2011 - knocked back Lancaster's advances to remain with the Chiefs Super Rugby franchise, but confirmed that his decision was not money driven or a "reflection" on the former Leeds boss.

Mike Catt has since been installed as England's attack coach for their forthcoming tour to South Africa, with a permanent appointment to follow.

"Turning down the England offer was nothing to do with money," Smith wrote on The Rugby Site. "We had deliberately not talked finances. I wanted the decision to be an entirely philosophical one.

"I wanted it to be free of monetary influences. We hadn't even talked about the specifics of my role. It was about being in the right place at the right time. And after much thought, that turned out to be in New Zealand with the Chiefs.

"The decision is no reflection on Stuart Lancaster at all. It was a surprise when he rang. I had talked with Nick Mallett about forming a team, but when that didn't happen, I switched off. I wasn't expecting Stuart's call at all, but it was handy to meet, because he was doing a South African recce ahead of the England tour. I found him level-headed, humble and with a real grasp of the challenges."

Smith believes that one of Lancaster's major hurdles will be managing his relationship with the 12 Aviva Premiership clubs and also that he should look to Sir Clive Woodward for inspiration on that front.

"He knows that one of his biggest challenges will be alignment with the Premiership coaches," Smith wrote. "That may sound impossible, but it can be done. Clive Woodward managed it when I was coaching at Northampton.

"Woodward gave me the motivation to fit in with his England programme. The work he did enhanced what we were trying to achieve and we also provided the environment for the England players to thrive in. We allowed him access and in return Clive made sure the players weren't flogged and came back to us in good condition on the Tuesday."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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