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Page last updated at 13:55 GMT, Thursday, 5 March 2009

Smith makes surprise Wolves move

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No conflict with England and Warrington roles - Smith

England coach Tony Smith has made a shock return to Super League with struggling Warrington Wolves.

The 42-year-old has been named head of coaching and rugby and will work alongside present Wolves coach James Lowes, who becomes first-team coach.

Smith has signed a two-and-a-half-year deal at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

He will continue his role as England coach on a part-time basis, but has stood down as the Rugby Football League's technical director.

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

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But he takes over at Warrington with the club bottom of the table after three straight defeats at the start of Super League XIV.

"I'm excited about this," he said. "It's a very big club with a very big future.

"I've had a desire to coach at club level again so when this came about, my fear was that maybe I'd miss out on a great opportunity."

The Australian, who became a British citizen before last year's World Cup, appointed Lowes to his England backroom staff in 2007 but the former Bradford and Great Britain hooker left the role in order to concentrate on his new position at Warrington.

The Wolves have lost their last eight matches going back to last August and were booed off the pitch following their recent home defeat by Catalans Dragons.

Ironically, their next match is against Leeds on Sunday.

England endured a disappointing World Cup campaign with a record loss to Australia and two defeats by eventual winners New Zealand, including in the semi-final.

Smith was criticised in many quarters for the lacklustre performances from his team, whose only win came in their opening game against Papua New Guinea.

Richard Lewis, the RFL's executive chairman, said: "Tony indicated to us in January his desire to return to club coaching at the end of his contract which runs until the end of 2009.

"This has been factored into our World Cup review, which we will report back on in April, and our new structural plans for our Performance and Coaching departments.

"The only thing that has changed since January is the timetable with Tony asking to be relieved of his duties as technical director sooner rather then later so that he can get back into club coaching.

"All parties are pleased that Tony will remain as England coach on a part-time basis and we are confident that he remains the right man to lead them into this autumn's Four Nations tournament."



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see also
Super League Show
17 Feb 08 |  Rugby League
'Outstanding' Smith stays - Lewis
15 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Coach Smith rues basic mistakes
15 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Smith furious after loss to Kiwis
08 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Smith left humbled by record loss
02 Nov 08 |  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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