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Wayne Smith

EnglandEngland Rugby Football Union Chief Executive Ian Ritchie said that England were determined to appoint a coach of “proven international experience”.

The search for this new coach – to replace Stuart Lancaster – will continue, however long it takes.

England’s dismal Rugby World Cup campaign set the seal on Lancaster’s 3-and-a-half years in charge, with the RFU announcing earlier on Wednesday he had left his post by “mutual consent”.

Under Lancaster – who had little prior elite rugby experience – England became the 1st host nation to fail to get out of the group phase at the recent Rugby World Cup.

RFU Chief Executive Ritchie said the decision to replace Lancaster had been “unanimously accepted” by the governing body’s board.

England’s next match is their Six Nations opener away to Scotland on 6 February, with the squad due to be announced in January.

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Nick Mallett

Nick Mallett

Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett says England made a mistake by not appointing him and New Zealander Wayne Smith as coaches 3 years ago.

Mallett, 58, was in line for the England head coaching job but lost out to Stuart Lancaster.

In an interview with The Times, Mallett said he would have appointed Smith as his assistant coach had he got the England job.

Smith was the All Blacks’ assistant coach when they won the 2011 Rugby World Cup and also helped the Chiefs to back-to-back Super Rugby titles in 2012 and 2013.

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Wayne Smith appointed as All Blacks defence specialist

Wayne Smith appointed as All Blacks defence specialist

Wayne Smith will rejoin the All Blacks coaching staff ahead of next year’s World Cup as a defence specialist.

Smith, who was an assistant to Graham Henry between 2004 and 2011 and a key member of the coaching combination which won the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand, has been assistant coach of the Chiefs team which has won two Super Rugby titles.

All Black head coach Steve Hansen said Smith is “one of the most astute coaches in the world” and having worked with him in the past he knows just how valuable he is to any team he is involved in.

“Smithy will add another dimension to what is already a strong coaching group in what will be a big year for us,” Hansen said.

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Mark Anscombe

UlsterThe niceties dictate that the phrase ‘parted company’ is employed but effectively Ulster have sacked Mark Anscombe. The New Zealander did not know what was in the offing over the weekend and only learned of his fate yesterday.

Ireland’s defence coach Les Kiss will combine those duties with the responsibility of those as interim head coach for the province. There is no time limit placed on his dual remit.

Ulster rugby released a statement yesterday afternoon. It read: “Following the departure of director of rugby, David Humphreys, Ulster Rugby has today announced that head coach, Mark Anscombe, is to leave the province with immediate effect.”

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defaultMedia analysts love to roll out the stats. They point to the number of missed tackles by one team or the percentage of territory of the other, but the surface numbers are utterly meaningless. They tell coaches next to nothing about the game. The stats are often numerical fiction.

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Some of the greatest rugby players from around the world will line up at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday 3 December 2011 for the ‘Heroes Rugby Challenge’. The match, which kicks off at 1630 and is supported by J.P. Morgan, aims to raise a substantial sum of money for Help for Heroes, the charity which provides practical support for wounded service men and women.

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