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Catt: Smith could still be an option

Mike Catt believes England head coach Stuart Lancaster could still tap into the expertise of Wayne Smith - despite the New Zealander turning down the chance to be involved in the national set-up.

Catt, who will leave his coaching job at London Irish at the weekend to take up the role with the Rugby Football Union, has been added to Lancaster's coaching squad for England's summer tour of South Africa in June on a short-term contact after Smith turned the role down due to family reasons.

Catt played down the suggestion the position could lead to a more permanent role, but admitted Smith could still feature in an advisory role of his own, as he said: "Stuart has given me this opportunity and I just want to take it with both hands. I still don't know why Stuart can't tap into Wayne's knowledge anyway."

He added: "Graham Henry is still doing stuff around the world and I think Stuart has a good enough relationship with Wayne to be able to do that.

"I think everyone could learn massively from Wayne, but obviously for family reasons he's decided not to get involved but it gives other people opportunities to stake their claim."

And Catt says he is more than ready to take his chance and lay down a marker himself.

"My focus is on the now," he said.

"This is my opportunity. I had quite a few of them for England as a player and now this is my opportunity as a coach to make sure I can set my stall out and work well with Graham (Rowntree) and Stuart and the players.

"It's not rocket science how Stuart wants us to play the game, he's very open minded. It's the environment that we're on and we're hoping to play at that level."


From Belfast Telegraph