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Page last updated at 22:02 GMT, Sunday, 15 November 2009

England to seek full-time coach

Tony Smith
Tony Smith took over from Brian Noble back in 2007

England are set to appoint a full-time head coach early next year to replace Tony Smith, who quit on Sunday.

Smith, who combined coaching roles with England and Warrington, resigned after Saturday's 46-16 loss to Australia.

The 42-year-old Australian, whose contract expired at the end of the month, said he quit for family reasons.

A four-man panel, aided by Smith, has been set up and is likely to make an appointment ahead of England's mid-season international against France.

The panel is being chaired by Rugby Football League chief executive Nigel Wood.

In addition to taking charge of the national team, the new coach will oversee England under-20s and work with the elite squad to develop a four-year plan to produce 30 world-class players for the World Cup in 2013.

Smith, who took over from Brian Noble in March 2007, has said he will continue to support the England side and the Rugby Football League in their quest to find his successor.

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"I've got a great relationship with the League and they've said they'd like me involved in the recruitment," said Smith.

"I'm sure there are plenty of options but we've got to see who's available and see who's prepared to do the job - and whether the RFL are looking for a full-time or a part-time head coach."

Wakefield's John Kear, Bradford's Steve McNamara and Hull KR's Justin Morgan have been mentioned as possible successors, should the RFL chose to appoint a coach currently working in the Super League.

McNamara has been Smith's assistant for the last three years, while Kear, at 55 Super League's oldest coach, was in charge of England for the 2000 World Cup.

Smith, who 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, said he had to prioritise his life outside rugby.

He told BBC Radio 5 live's Sportsweek: "All of my coaching career I have put my personal aspirations first, however I must now consider the needs of my family.

"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."

England beat New Zealand en route to reaching the Four Nations final, but Saturday's heavy loss to Australia proved to be one of many defeats in a major final.

But Smith believed the emergence of 20-year-olds Sam Burgess, Sam Tomkins and Kyle Eastmond illustrated England were making "major inroads".

"I gave it a shot of trying to get us further up the ladder in terms of the world rankings," he said.

"We've brought on some young players who gained experience against a world-class team."



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see also
Smith quits role as England coach
15 Nov 09 |  Rugby League
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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