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England can delay for the right man: chief's comment opens door to Smith

Date
"If the  best candidate can't start ... would I wait? Yes I would" ... Ian Ritchie.

"If the best candidate can't start ... would I wait? Yes I would" ... Ian Ritchie. Photo: Getty Images

ENGLAND rugby is not giving up on Wayne Smith and may rejig the timing of its appointment of a head coach to clear the way for the former All Blacks coach to take up the prized role.

The Times revealed during the week former Springboks coach Nick Mallett flew in to meet the Rugby Football Union's new chief executive, Ian Ritchie, and other Twickenham powerbrokers.

But Ritchie did not rule out a caretaker head coach leading England's tour to South Africa in June, with an appointment being delayed until September if it meant waiting for the ''best person'' to become available.

The Times noted ''conspiracy theorists'' might see this as giving Smith time to reconsider his decision not to apply. Smith had said his commitment to the Chiefs in Super Rugby would rule him out of taking the England job in June.

''If the best candidate can't start until September or October, would I wait? Yes, I would,'' Ritchie said.

Incumbent Stuart Lancaster, Smith and Mallett are seen as the key contenders. Lancaster's relative lack of coaching experience at the highest level will disadvantage him, even though he is driving England's Six Nations campaign.

''I would expect to be the person who is in the lead in suggesting and recommending this appointment,'' Ritchie said. ''Certainly, from my point of view, it's a hugely important personal relationship. It's not a vote round the table [on] who is going to get it.''

Meanwhile, England's headhunters told John Kirwan he was out of contention because the Italy and Japan sides he led were not major teams. Kirwan understood he would be a risky choice, because he hadn't coached one of the world's top eight, but he hoped his experience of coaching at three World Cups and winning the first one as an All Black might count.

However, he told British press last week headhunters Odgers Berndtson informed him he would not be interviewed.

''They [Odgers] were looking for someone with a higher international profile. I understand that,'' Kirwan said. ''They started out with something in mind and they are heading down that track.''

Kirwan said he considered Mallett the best appointment.

''I think Nick Mallett would be perfect for it. Nick is the ideal mix. He is highly intelligent, he understands what a team needs to win and he gets the best out of players.

''It will be a high-pressure situation [coaching England] into a home World Cup [in 2015].''

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG 26 vs AUS 17 Report Stats
WAL 12 vs RSA 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
 
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