Smith to choose between two for London Irish forwards coachBy Alan Manicom
May 16, 2012
Brian Smith is expecting to make a decision on London Irish's new forwards coach by the end of the week.
Exiles' director of rugby said: "We’ve narrowed our candidates down to two, based on what the coaches are producing statistically and the coaches I know who will do a good job.
"We are going to meet with those two coaches, tomorrow evening with some senior players.
"We are going to get some input from the players and we are going to look at each individual in terms of line-out, scrum, attack and defence.
"Then we’ll look at how productive their teams are and I’ll let a couple of senior players in the pack give me their thoughts and I’ll consider it overnight and by Friday we’ll know who our man is."
Smith admitted that the club have been in contact with Nottingham director of rugby Glenn Delaney and former Bath forwards coach Martin Haag about the role, but added: "I can’t confirm that either of them is on the shortlist."
He did, however, reveal that his former England coaching colleague John Wells, an early favourite for the job, is not under consideration.
Smith, who spent the three years before the 2011 World Cup as England's attack coach, was believed to be keen on linking up again with Wells following his contribution in turning around Newcastle Falcons' season.
But Smith said: "I haven’t spoken to Wellsy about the position.
"My understanding is that Wellsy is staying on at Newcastle with Dean Richards. He’s done a good job up at Newcastle and Dean will want to keep him."
Irish last week recruited Shaun Edwards as their new defensive coach, and Smith plans to take on a more hands-on role with the backs following Mike Catt's decision to join the England coaching set-up for their summer tour of South Africa.
Smith said: "I can step into Catty’s role on the attack side.
"That’s what I’ve been doing with England and it’s been a productive time when you look at the try-scoring capacity in the England team in the last few seasons.
"It far outweighs the four seasons prior to that.
"Only Clive Woodward’s team in 2001 scored more points in a season than we did last season.
"So on the attack and defence side I think we’re ok.
"We just need to make sure that we have a forwards coach.
"Whether he’s called head coach or forwards coach is irrelevant."
Smith added: "We need a guy who can deliver a forward pack performance that means we don’t get bullied by Leicester or any pack in the league.
"He needs to ensure we stand toe to toe at scrum and lineout time and we don't concede soft tries at driving mauls – in fact we want to stick driving-maul tries into opposition teams.
"The production of the pack will be the forward coach's responsibility.
"Whether he's called first-team coach or forwards coach doesn’t really matter. That’s just a title."