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Smith quits role as England coach

Billy Slater

Highlights - England 16-46 Australia

Tony Smith has resigned as coach of the England rugby league side.

The 42-year-old's decision comes in the wake of Saturday's 46-16 Four Nations final loss to Australia.

Smith revealed on BBC Radio 5 live's Sportsweek he was quitting for family reasons, adding he would have done so regardless of Saturday's result.

"Even if we had won last night I'd still have stepped down," said Smith, who will now focus on his duties as head coach of Warrington Wolves.

Smith, 42, who took over from Brian Noble in March 2007, says he will continue to support the England side and the Rugby Football League in their quest to find his successor but he must now prioritise his life outside rugby.

"All of my coaching career I have put my personal aspirations first, however I must now consider the needs of my family," explained Smith.

"Next year the Four Nations is in the southern hemisphere and after a long domestic season with Warrington it would mean at least six weeks away from home with England.

"I must consider my family's needs as well as my own, and therefore believe now is the right time to stand down.

"I will continue to support the national team in any way I can and wish my successor the very best of luck."

RFL chairman Richard Lewis said: "Tony explained to us before the start of the Gillette Four Nations his reasons for not wanting to continue as national coach, which we appreciate, and we wish him well for his future.

"Our aim is to win the 2013 World Cup and by including so many youngsters in his Gillette Four Nations squad Tony has certainly set the wheels in motion to achieve this."

Australian-born Smith, who became a British citizen in September 2008, has endured a turbulent tenure as coach of the national team.

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He enjoyed 10 wins in his 16 games in charge, the highlight of which was a 3-0 Test series whitewash of New Zealand in 2007, but failed to inspire the side to the heights many felt them capable.

He was criticised in many quarters for the side's lacklustre performances at last year's World Cup where they suffered a record 52-4 loss to Australia and suffered two losses to eventual winners New Zealand, including in the semi-final.

Despite reaching the final of the Four Nations, beating New Zealand en route, Saturday's heavy defeat by Australia in the final was to ultimately prove another disappointment.

Smith surprised many when he signed a two-year deal as head of coaching at Super League side Warrington earlier this year, a move which saw him reduce his role with England and stand down as the Rugby Football League's technical director.

However, working alongside coach James Lowes, he guided the club away from relegation and, in August, led them to their first Challenge Cup victory since 1974 courtesy of a 25-16 win over Huddersfield.

Smith has previously enjoyed success at club level with the Giants and the Rhinos, leading the latter to two Grand Final wins.



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see also
England 16-46 Australia
14 Nov 09 |  Rugby League
England v Australia as it happened
14 Nov 09 |  Rugby League
England 20-12 New Zealand
07 Nov 09 |  Rugby League
England 16-26 Australia
31 Oct 09 |  Rugby League
England 34-12 France
23 Oct 09 |  Rugby League
Astute Smith galvanises Wolves
30 Aug 09 |  Rugby League
Smith handed British citizenship
07 Sep 08 |  Rugby League
Smith takes up Great Britain job
26 Mar 07 |  Rugby League


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