Catt's the man! Lancaster in talks with World Cup winner over temporary coaching role
10:32 GMT, 27 April 2012
Stuart Lancaster has confirmed he had held talks with Mike Catt over an interim coaching role on England's summer tour of South Africa and he anticipates finalising an appointment after the weekend.
Wayne Smith has been offered the job of backs coach on a long-term basis but the New Zealand World Cup-winner is not available until after England's three-Test challenge against the Springboks.
Former Wasps fly-half Alex King had also been under consideration but his coaching commitments with French club Clermont Auvergne, whose season may not finish until June 9, ruled him out of contention.
Part time option: Mike Catt could be an England coach for the tour of South Africa
On top of the world: Mike Catt helped England win the World Cup in 2003
Catt's appointment is expected to be finalised next week while Smith, who helped the All Blacks win the 2011 Rugby World Cup, is considering his options after meeting Lancaster last Friday.
Lancaster hailed Smith as the 'stand-out candidate' to replace Andy Farrell on his England coaching team through to the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Smith was one of New Zealand's 'three wise men' – along with Graham Henry and Steve Hansen – who guided the All Blacks to their World Cup triumph in Auckland last October.
'For me, there is one stand-out candidate – Wayne Smith,” Lancaster told BBC Radio 5 Live.
'Wayne has got a lot to offer from a coaching point of view, in terms of experience, the southern hemisphere and he has been in World Cups.
'I met him and had a real good chat with him. He was excited by the vision I presented to him about where we were going as a national team.
Outstanding candidate: Wayne Smith is considered very highly
'Clearly the lure of international rugby is a strong one for him. He enjoyed his time at Northampton, he enjoyed his time in England.
'It was a really, really enjoyable conversation. He has some decisions to make of his own.'
Needing a new man: England Stuart Lancaster must find a replacement for Andy Farrell
Smith left the meeting excited by what he heard and he believes Lancaster can turn England into a side capable of challenging New Zealand's supremacy and winning the 2015 World Cup on home soil.
'I think they will be a tough proposition over the next few years,' Smith said.