Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder rules himself out of England running

 

Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder has joined former New Zealand assistant Wayne Smith in ruling himself out of contention to be the next permanent England head coach.

Mallinder, touted as one of the leading candidates to be Martin Johnson's long-term successor, has confirmed he did not apply for the job before yesterday's deadline.

Smith took up a coaching role with the Chiefs Super 15 franchise after helping the All Blacks win the 2011 Rugby World Cup and said the timing was wrong.

The former Northampton boss was also critical of the Rugby Football Union's job description, describing it as "waffly" and better suited "for the head of a PR company".

Stuart Lancaster, who has led England to RBS 6 Nations victories over Scotland and Italy as the interim head coach, is so far the only man to confirm he has applied for the full-time job.

Former South Africa and Italy coach Nick Mallett and John Kirwan, who has World Cup experience coaching Japan and the Azzurri, have previously expressed interest in the position.

Mallinder told BBC Look East: "No, I haven't applied.

"It's probably the best job in the world coaching wise. What a great opportunity. But it's got to be the right thing at the right time.

"At the moment, I'm concerned with getting Northampton to win something. You can't be distracted, it's got to be full on and that's what I am, that's what the rest of the coaches are and that's what the players are.

"I spoke to [Rugby Football Union director of operations] Rob Andrew a month or so ago, as I have done previously. I expressed that one day I think it's a tremendous job to do.

"I'd like to do [England] at some time."

Like Mallinder, Smith would be interested in a future role with England and he believes he still has much to offer on the international stage.

But the 54-year-old was not prepared to renege on his commitment to the Chiefs - and he has issues with the RFU's job description.

"I understand they want to fill the position for the tour of South Africa in June. That timing doesn't fit in with me so I haven't put an application in," Smith said.

"I said I have a moral obligation to fulfil my time here with the Chiefs.

"I'm interested down the track if it fits in and they (England) want me to have an involvement in talking to them.

"I want to coach at that level again and that's a team that has got a fair bit of potential. But this opportunity just didn't fit in with me."

PA

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