Smith returns to London Irish as director of rugbyBy Alan Manicom
March 08, 2012
Brian Smith has returned to London Irish as director of rugby.
He will be linking up again with Toby Booth, who will remain as the club's head coach.
Smith said: “Toby and I have always had a great relationship and that brought with it a lot of success on field in my time at the club and I know that we’re destined for even greater things.
"We’re building a new squad with fantastic potential and if we all pull together we can really make things happen.”
Smith was Exiles' director of rugby for three years until 2008 when he left to become England's attack coach.
His appointment follows a disappointing run of five successive Aviva Premiership defeats for Irish, which has seen them slip to ninth place.
Smith, who resigned from the England coaching staff last November, has joined on a two-and-a-half-year deal.
His first game back at the club will be their St Patrick’s Party match against Leicester Tigers on March 25.
Smith is widely credited for laying the foundations of Irish’s most successful years, taking the club to third place in the Premiership, the final of the European Challenge Cup and a Heineken Cup semi-final against Toulouse.
After his departure, Toby Booth became head coach and continued to steer the Exiles through their most successful period of the professional era, leading the club to a Premiership Final and Heineken Cup tournament qualifications for three successive years.
London Irish chief executive Andy Martin said: “We have made great strides over the past couple of years to make this club successful both on and off the field by building a team which has a good mix of experience and raw talent.
"We are delighted therefore that Brian will be returning.
"He is a top class manager with a proven track record of success both at club and international level.
"We believe that his experience will help to strengthen our current resources and will be the boost we need to get back on track this season and beyond.
“There is no doubt that it has been a tough few weeks, something that we are all feeling.
"We would like to thank our supporters most sincerely for sticking with us and hope they will see that we are committed to making positive changes towards future success.”
Smith began his coaching career with Sydney-based Eastern Suburbs, who went undefeated in 2000.
That led to a coaching role with the ACT Brumbies and a Super 12 final in 2001 before joining Bath as defence coach, helping them reach the 2003 European Challenge Cup final and the 2004 Guinness Premiership final.
He is a dual rugby international having played at fly-half for Australia (six caps) and Ireland (nine caps).
His Wallabies debut came on their successful 1986 Bledisloe Cup Tour and he played in the inaugural Rugby World Cup the following year.
He is also an Oxford Blue.