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Brian Smith resigns as England attack coach


Brian Smith has resigned as England's attack coach.

The Rugby Football Union confirmed the news this afternoon, which follows team manager Martin Johnson's resignation earlier this month and comes after Australian Smith was heavily criticised in a leaked players' report which followed the disastrous World Cup campaign.

Smith was recruited to the management team by Johnson in July 2008 having previously been director of rugby at London Irish. He has decided not to seek a renewal of his contract with the RFU.

Smith's coaching came in for criticism from some England squad members as part of the Rugby Players' Association's World Cup review, that was leaked to The Times.

One player was reported to have said: "I would be delighted if he went.

"Our attack play was boring, uninventive, lacklustre, even schoolboy at times."

Another is reported to have said: "If we'd got to the semi-finals or final it would have papered over the cracks and the worst thing is Brian Smith would have stayed in his job. It might be a blessing."

Smith is understood to have already been sounding out coaching roles in Australia.

He said: "I feel that England have made great strides in the last three years and although the World Cup was a massive disappointment we have won 10 out of the last 13 games, including beating Australia back-to-back and winning the RBS 6 Nations for the first time since 2003.

"Johnno appointed me and gave me the opportunity, and that's something I will be forever grateful for.

"He has been fantastic to work for and has always given 100 per cent and maintained the utmost integrity. Working with the other coaches has also been a positive experience and I wish them all well."

Johnson praised his coaching team after standing down as England manager, saying they had performed with great integrity despite people doubting their credentials.

Reacting to Smith's decision to follow him out of the door at Twickenham, Johnson said: "Brian has brought a high level of coaching and a huge amount of commitment and passion to the job.

"If you look at our record in the last 12 months, and the fact that we have scored 37 tries to 12 conceded, it shows what an impact he has made.

"I want to thank him for what he has done for the England team and for the young players that he has brought on."