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.”

Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Life and Style
fashionThe supermodel on her career, motherhood and Cara Delevingne
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
premier league
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
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

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments