England"s Stuart Lancaster to appoint Mike Catt

RFU move for former England star Catt as fight for Farrell and Smith drags on

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UPDATED:

07:31 GMT, 26 April 2012

Stuart Lancaster appears to be closing in on the appointment of Mike Catt as his next interim backs coach – but he will remain in regular contact with Andy Farrell.

Lancaster had argued strongly for the Rugby Football Union to recruit Farrell from Saracens on a permanent basis following the impact he made during his secondment with England for the RBS 6 Nations.

When the RFU failed to lure Farrell from the Aviva Premiership champions, Lancaster approached Wayne Smith over the role of England backs coach through to the 2015 World Cup.

Change course: Stuart Lancaster is exploring other options regarding his coaching staff after missing out on Andy Farrell, who will stay with Saracens

Change course: Stuart Lancaster is exploring other options regarding his coaching staff after missing out on Andy Farrell, who will stay with Saracens

Smith, the New Zealand attack specialist deemed by many to be the best in the global game, is weighing up the offer but he would be unavailable until after the summer tour to South Africa.

Lancaster is expected to add Catt to his core management team on a short-term basis for England's three-Test, five-match trip.

The RFU were accused of dragging their heels over negotiations for Farrell, who had forged such a successful team with Lancaster and Graham Rowntree during the Six Nations.

'I had a great relationship with Andy
from the Saxons, I enjoyed working with him and felt he was the right
man to help us through that Six Nations period,' Lancaster told the RFU
website.

Pedigree: Mike Catt won the World Cup

Pedigree: Mike Catt won the World Cup

'And he did exactly that, he had a massive impact on the players and on the environment and culture. He's obviously stepped from playing to coaching seamlessly and then transferred that club coaching to international coaching.

'He was brilliant for me and we had a fantastic journey through the Six Nations together. He had decisions to make after the tournament and I fully respect those decisions. We still have a great relationship and will talk all the time.'

London Irish are not thought to have received an official approach from the RFU for Catt, although that may not be necessary.

Catt has one year remaining on his London Irish contract but he is reportedly leaving the club this summer as part of a cull of back-room staff.

England are taking at least 40 players to South Africa and Lancaster is looking at adding some support coaches to his core management team.

'There will be three main coaches but to do this tour with just three coaches would be a stretch so we'll need some support in there too,' Lancaster said.

'Short term we need to find a replacement for Andy for the tour and some support coaches who can come in and help out with the team that plays in midweek.

'And also on the sheer logistics of it – we're going to select 40-plus players and we want to make sure we give them the feedback they deserve.

'Long term as well I want to make sure we've got the best coaching team to take us not only through the QBE Internationals this autumn and next year's Six Nations but right the way through Rugby World Cup 2015.'