Smith pulls out of England race

World Cup-winning All Blacks assistant coach Wayne Smith says he didn’t apply for the England job.

Applications for the England head coach post closed on Thursday morning, and Smith confirmed that he didn’t send in his CV. The appointment will be made after the Six Nations in June. Interim coach Stuart Lancaster takes care of the team in the meanwhile.

Smith explained that the timing of the job was the reason he decided not apply. He is currently the assistant coach at the Chiefs for the next two years. If the appointment was made after Super Rugby, it would’ve allowed Smith to end his tenure at the Chiefs a year early.

‘I understand they want to fill the position for the tour of South Africa in June. That timing doesn’t fit in with me so I haven’t put an application in. I said I have a moral obligation to fulfill my time here with the Chiefs,’ said Smith, who added that he’s still interested in a return to coaching Test rugby in the near future.

Reports from England suggested that Smith and former Italy and Springbok coach Nick Mallett were favourites for the job. The coach post is now a likely two-horse race between Mallett and Lancaster.