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Lancaster: Smith is stand-out candidate

Stuart Lancaster has described Wayne Smith as the "stand-out candidate" to replace Andy Farrell on his England coaching team through to the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Smith was one of New Zealand's "three wise men" - along with Graham Henry and Steve Hansen - who guided the All Blacks to their World Cup triumph in Auckland last October.

Lancaster met with Smith, the former Northampton director of rugby, over dinner in Durban last Friday night to discuss the role, and he told BBC Radio Five 5: "(I had to) find the Andy Farrell replacement, look around to see who was the best person for that fit. For me, there is one stand-out candidate - Wayne Smith."

Smith said he is now considering the offer of a role as part of England's own "three wise men" management team, alongside Lancaster and Graham Rowntree.

Lancaster added: "I met him and had a real good chat with him. He has some decisions to make of his own.

"Clearly the lure of international rugby is a strong one for him. He enjoyed his time at Northampton, he enjoyed his time in England. He was excited by the vision I presented to him about where we were going as a national team.

"Wayne has got not just a lot to offer from a coaching point of view, in terms of experience, southern hemisphere and he has been in World Cups. It was a really, really enjoyable conversation."

Smith left the meeting excited by what he heard and he believes Lancaster can turn England into a side capable of challenging New Zealand's supremacy and winning the 2015 World Cup on home soil.

But before he is in a position to accept the job, Smith has to come to terms with the prospect of severing ties with the All Blacks and coaching directly against the team he helped guide to World Cup success.

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