Gloucester set sights on Wayne Smith after Nigel Davies is shown the door

Cherry & Whites end the season ninth and despite a number of key signings for the new campaign, Davies has paid the price

Gloucester, still one of English union’s big beasts despite a calamitous season of reputational shrinkage, say they will go to the ends of the earth in search of the right strategist to succeed Nigel Davies, who was sacked as rugby director yesterday. If the movers and shakers at Kingsholm keep their promise and travel the full distance – that is to say, all the way to the North Island of New Zealand – they will surely consider offering Wayne Smith, the former All Black coach, an opportunity to return to the Premiership.

A key member of the silver-ferned think tank who plotted the World Cup triumph in 2011, Smith turned down the chance to stay in Test rugby with England when approached by Stuart Lancaster, the red-rose coach, a few months later. He is currently working at Super 15 level with the Waikato Chiefs, champions for the last two years, and has said in the past that he plans to stay put. But Smith knows what it takes to operate effectively in this country – he was in charge at Northampton between 2001 and 2004 – and may, at 57, be tempted by one last tour of duty abroad.

A couple of experienced hands were linked with the Gloucester job while Davies was still in place. Dean Richards, who returned to the Premiership with Newcastle at the start of this season, surprised the Kingsholm hierarchy in March when he stated that he had received a “hypothetical” approach from an agent, adding that he was uninterested in any such move. There was also talk of a possible role for Gary Gold, the former Springbok coach, following his departure from Bath before Christmas, but Gold is now earning proper money in Japan with the Kobelco Steelers.

Now that Davies, who joined Gloucester from the Llanelli-based Scarlets almost two years ago, has been shown the door, interest in the succession is likely to be high. Another former Bath boss, the Australian attack specialist Steve Meehan, has been tempted by Kingsholm in the past, although he is now in the thick of the Super 15 season with Queensland Reds. As for locally based candidates, both Toby Booth and Sean Holley, two high-quality coaches with the right kind of credentials, might come under consideration. Booth, who ran London Irish with some success, and Holley, who made a decent fist of things under difficult circumstances at the Swansea-based Ospreys, are currently holding down second-in-command roles at Bath and Bristol respectively.

Ironically enough, Davies leaves after making solid progress on the recruitment front in an effort to solve Gloucester’s problems up front – the single biggest contributory factor to their desperate under-performance over the last nine months. Two international front-rowers, the Wales hooker Richard Hibbard and the All Black prop John Afoa, will be at Kingsholm next term, as will a couple of Test locks: Mariano Galarza of Argentina and the more familiar figure of Tom Palmer, who played for England at the last World Cup. In addition, the multi-faceted Scotland playmaker Greig Laidlaw is heading south with a brief to solve the club’s chronic goal-kicking issues.

Stephen Vaughan, the Gloucester chief executive, did not beat about the bush in announcing Davies’ departure. “Playing performances and results were a big disappointment to everyone at the club,” he said, referring to the Cherry and Whites’ ninth-placed finish. “The board decided that the future interests of the team would be best served with a different individual in charge of team affairs. We have clear aspirations to be a top four side and that must drive our decision-making process.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot