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Page last updated at 10:09 GMT, Monday, 1 December 2008

NZ assistant Smith spurns Ospreys

Wayne Smith
Smith will stay with the All Blacks until his contract ends in 2009

All Blacks backs coach Wayne Smith has spurned the chance to become Ospreys head coach.

The 51-year-old New Zealander had been linked with the Welsh side who have Sean Holley and Jonathan Humphreys.

Smith said: "I am staying with the All Blacks. This means too much to me and the people mean too much."

An Ospreys statement read: "Discussions are continuing with potential candidates and an announcement will be made at the appropriate time."

Smith added: "(I am) contracted until the end of 2009 and there's still a bit of water to go under the bridge."

Smith said he had wanted to wait until after New Zealand's autumn tour had concluded before making a decision.

Following Saturday's victory over England he chose to stay with the All Blacks.

"It was a family decision. I'd been speaking to (wife) Trish for several weeks over it," said Smith, who was appointed by New Zealand head coach Graham Henry in 2004.

"I gave it a lot of thought, I had to think quite deeply about it.

"Obviously I had to resolve some of the time away from home issues which I've done with Steve Tew (New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive) and Jock Hobbs (NZRU chairman).

606: DEBATE
"Ultimately it came down to these fellas here (Henry and forwards chief Steve Hansen), the people I coach with, the management team and the players.

"I love the jersey, love my country, love the people I'm working with and coaching."

Smith's decision means the Ospreys are still looking for a new head coach to succeed Lyn Jones, who left by mutual consent in May, leaving Sean Holley and Jonathan Humphreys in charge.

An Ospreys statement read: "The Ospreys focus is on finding an individual of outstanding ability, professionalism, leadership and innovation with the capability of taking the squad on to the next level, but the region will not rush the process of identifying and securing the right man for this vital and pivotal role.

"Despite speculation, the Ospreys have made it perfectly clear that this process has not yet come to an end.

"Conversations that have taken place with Wayne Smith, amongst others, should however provide an insight as to the thoroughness of the process itself, as well as the calibre of individual the Ospreys are prepared to engage with. "

Earlier in the season, former Wales captain Jonathan Davies said the Ospreys may have trouble finding a new coach.

"Most coaches would come into a new job and want to be the main man," he told BBC Sport. "But at the Ospreys he will be coming in under [Elite Performance Director] Andrew Hore. It's a difficult position to enter into.

"It will be interesting to see what happens, but for now it's a good chance for the young Welsh coaches there."

Kiwi Hore was brought in from New Zealand by the big-spending Ospreys midway through last season and began a wide-ranging review of the organisation.

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Ospreys pinpoint new head coach
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Hansen rules out Ospreys coaching role
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