Former Irish international Smith appointed England backs coach

Brian Smith has been set the challenge of transforming England’s pedestrian backline after being appointed attack coach.

Brian Smith has been set the challenge of transforming England’s pedestrian backline after being appointed attack coach.

Smith has left London Irish, where he was director of rugby, to join the stricken World Cup finalists as manager Martin Johnson’s first appointment.

The 41-year-old will work alongside defence guru Mike Ford and forwards coach John Wells.

“The appointment of Brian is great news for England as we look forward to the increased time we have with the players under the new agreement with Premier Rugby,” said Johnson.

“Brian is a top attack coach and I’m sure he will be a real asset to us. His appointment finalises the senior coaching team for next season.”

Fans must cast their minds back to 2003 for the last time England’s threequarters were a serious threat on a consistent basis.

Over the last four-and-a-half years they have often looked clueless, lacking in any imagination or creativity.

Smith, a dual international for Australia and Ireland, is viewed as a visionary coach who has the ideas and drive to inspire the improvement required.

His track record at London Irish, who he guided to the Heineken Cup semi-finals last season, is superb.

The Exiles are one of the Guinness Premiership’s most entertaining sides and it is hoped Smith will be able to translate his attacking philosophy from club to Test level.

Smith said: “The opportunity to coach Test rugby comes along rarely in one’s career so I’m looking forward to my new position with England.

“It’s an exciting time to be involved. I would like to thank London Irish for the opportunity the club has given me.

“I’ve enjoyed working with the playing and coaching staff and would like to thank all at the club for all the encouragement I’ve received.”

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