Lancaster sets sights on Smith
Stuart Lancaster has flown to South Africa in an attempt to recruit New Zealand attack specialist Wayne Smith onto his England coaching team.
Smith, a member of New Zealand's World Cup-winning coaching team, is currently working with Super 15 pool leaders the Chiefs.
Lancaster teed up the meeting with Smith after the Rugby Football Union failed to persuade Andy Farrell to leave his role as Saracens head coach to join England full-time. Smith is on record as saying he would be interested in returning to Test rugby again and a role with England through to the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Lancaster will explore whether Smith is available to link up with England during their three-Test summer tour of South Africa, which occurs during a break in the Super Rugby season.
Smith has previously stated he would not be available until after his Super Rugby commitments are over. If that remained the case, Lancaster would look to appoint an interim backs coach for the tour.
But the priority for Lancaster is to put his long-term management team in place for the World Cup and there are few attack coaches in the global game who come as highly recommended as Smith, the former Northampton director of rugby.
Smith was one of the so-called "three wise men" - along with Graham Henry and Steve Hansen - who masterminded the All Blacks' World Cup triumph. Former England centre Will Greenwood rates him as one of the best analytical attack coaches in the world.
Smith recently praised the work Lancaster did during the RBS 6 Nations in rebuilding the England team following their failed World Cup campaign, but he believes the next step in England's development is to create an attacking system which would test the best teams in the world.
"Stuart Lancaster has done a hell of a job in his short time as national coach," Smith wrote in a blog on therugbysite.com. "If I was an England supporter I would be pretty excited. But Lancaster will know that as far as England have come, they will have to keep improving if they are to compete with the southern hemisphere.
"They play South Africa four times, New Zealand, Australia and Fiji before the end of the year. They won't beat those sides just smashing the ball up. They will need an attacking strategy by then and they will need alignment with all the coaches and players."