English Rugby
Catt calls on Lancaster to use Smith
ESPNscrum Staff
May 2, 2012
Mike Catt will look to the youngsters while on tour in South Africa
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Players/Officials: Mike Catt | Stuart Lancaster | Wayne Smith
Teams: England

New England coach Mike Catt has called on Stuart Lancaster to utilise his friendship with Wayne Smith and tap into the former All Blacks coach's knowledge of the game.

Catt was announced as England's backs coach for the tour to South Africa on Tuesday in an interim capacity with Smith opting to stay in New Zealand rather than linking up with Lancaster. Catt's club side London Irish confirmed his departure on the same day and he will take up his role with England from May 7.

But it was Smith who appeared to be the favourite to take on the role of backs coach. Despite his decision to stay in New Zealand, Catt believes the World Cup-winning coach could still play a role in the England set-up.

"Stuart has given me this opportunity I just want to take it with both hands," Catt said. "I still don't know why Stuart can't tap into Wayne's knowledge anyway.

"Graham Henry is still doing stuff around the world and I think Stuart has a good enough relationship with Wayne to be able to do that. I think everyone could learn massively from Wayne, but obviously for family reasons he's decided not to get involved but it gives other people opportunities to stake their claim."

Catt will now aim to showcase his credentials on the five-match tour of South Africa with a view to getting the job full-time but Catt is adamant that he will focus on the "now" rather than the future.

"This is my opportunity," Catt said. "I had quite a few of them for England as a player and now this is my opportunity as a coach to make sure I can set my stall out and work well with Graham [Rowntree] and Stuart and the players. It's not rocket science how Stuart wants us to play the game, he's very open minded. It's the environment that we're on and we're hoping to play at that level.

"I've got a two-month window that I need to make sure I get things right, make sure I complement Stuart and Graham in everything they do and that I get the players on board too. It's down to man-management and I will purely focus on the next two months so I won't worry about the future too much."

One criticism of England during an otherwise successful Six Nations was their lack of cutting edge. They scored just seven tries in the campaign and one of Catt's first jobs is attempt to unleash their attacking potential.

"Graham Rowntree has done an amazing job with the forwards, especially with that scrum performance against Ireland, so if we can get that set-piece right, the line-out and the scrum and get a good platform to work from, it's now my job to get some of those backs firing and firing and doing good stuff," he said. "Andy [Farrell], Graham and Stuart have produced guys that you probably don't see on a week-in, week-out basis in the Aviva Premiership.

"They are defending unbelievably well and their work rate is incredible. It's just ultimate belief. Owen Farrell and Toby Flood are pushing each other (at fly-half). You've got the nine spot with Lee Dickson and Ben Youngs - key positions with a lot of competition there and guys will improve because of that."

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