Smith staying put with Chiefs
Wayne Smith wants to commit to the Chiefs long term and has given up aspirations to coach at international level in another country.
In announcing today his decision to turn down an offer to coach England under the direction of head coach Stuart Lancaster, Smith said his love of the current Chiefs environment, the desire to stay close to family including his octogenarian parents in Putaruru and a realisation he couldn’t coach against the All Blacks had all been factors in making up his mind.
Smith, who stood down as All Blacks assistant coach after helping them win the Rugby World Cup last year at the end of an eight-year stint, has been a Chiefs assistant coach in charge of defence this year.
He signed on for a two-year term with the Chiefs under head coach Dave Rennie and alongside fellow assistants Tom Coventry and Andrew Strawbridge, but he had an out clause in his contract and if he had signed with England he would have left them at the end of the current season.
“But that’s irrelevant now, it’s not going to happen,” Smith said today.
Instead he would see out his current contract and seek an extension of that.
“I’m keen to sit down with the New Zealand Rugby Union and see what it looks like through that period and beyond because I’m keen to commit fully to stay here – beyond these two years.”
He had needed a bit of time to put things in perspective before making his decision, but once he had made it he had been keen to make it known.
Smith said he was really enjoying his involvement with the Chiefs and felt there was an opportunity to build something special here.
“The team are vivacious and vibrant and just love the game. You can see what it means to them when they are on the paddock so I’m really enjoying coaching them, enjoying the other coaches and the staff – we’ve got a great group here.
“We’re creating a pretty good base at Ruakura that could be special, so I think all in all the next few years for the Chiefs are really important.
“This could be a really strong, world class franchise, I believe, and I’m very keen to be a part of that.”