Brumbies snare former NRL coach Brian Smith
Former NRL coach Brian Smith. Photo: Getty Images
The ACT Brumbies have successfully landed a cross-code blow, securing former NRL coach Brian Smith as a consultant coach for the 2013 Super Rugby season.
The former St George, Parramatta, Newcastle and Roosters mentor will join Jake White's coaching staff in an attempt to add starch to the Brumbies' defence.
It comes a month after the Brumbies tried to sign rugby league great Danny Buderus as a collision coach.
However, the NRL stepped in and blocked the move just hours after Buderus was unveiled at Brumbies HQ.
Rugby league officials were left fuming the Brumbies had signed Buderus while he still had a year left on his playing contract in the NRL.
White then tried to sign former Canberra Raiders captain Alan Tongue.
But Tongue declined because he is employed by the NRL.
Smith has reportedly been to one training session in the capital to assist White and his team in the pre-season.
When the Buderus debacle had settled, White was adamant he wasn't launching a cross-code war against rugby league and instead just wanted to improve his team.
But by signing Smith, rugby league will view the move as a strike against them.
Smith was sacked by the Roosters after the 2012 season - during which they finished 13th - despite having a year remaining on his contract.
He has failed to secure another full-time job in Australia.
He was set to be without a coaching job next year until he got a call from White.
Smith coached for more than 550 games in the NRL, but never won a premiership.
White's coaching staff now includes Wallabies legend Stephen Larkham and former Brumbies head coach Laurie Fisher as his assistants.
Former Wallabies captain George Gregan is a consultant with Smith as well as Eddie Jones.
Brumbies chief executive Andrew Fagan said: "The focus on the moment is on the pre-season period and working with the guys and it's wonderful to have someone of Brian's experience.
"He and Jake will be exchanging ideas on all sorts of things.
"When Jake first arrived last year one of the first things he did was speak to a number of coaches in other codes and Brian was one of those.
"Jake's not adverse to bring in outsiders to try to offer a different point of view. It's a good thing for us and it's an area of focus for Jake ... it ended up being a bit of a mess with Danny Buderus and I think this is a good thing moving forward for us."