Mallett still mulls England job

2011-11-29 19:34
Nick Mallett (File)

London - Nick Mallett has indicated he could yet take up a coaching role with England - but not until next season at the earliest.

The former South Africa and Italy coach turned down the Rugby Football Union (RFU), reeling from the post World Cup resignation of Martin Johnson, when approached earlier this month.

Mallett has also made it clear he is unwilling to work within the current RFU structure where the head coach or manager reports to a director of elite rugby.

But with RFU elite rugby director Rob Andrew battling to save his job after a series of leaked reports painted a damning picture of England's shambolic World Cup campaign, where poor performances were compounded by embarrassing off-field antics, the world's richest rugby union could yet have its hierarchy reformed.

"You can never rule yourself out of a job like this," said Mallett ahead of Saturday's Heroes Rugby Challenge at Twickenham, which aims to raise funds for injured armed forces personnel.

"The family situation might have changed - I might have spent four or five months at home.

"My wife might be saying to me 'it's time to get off the sofa and back into coaching'. And the RFU will hopefully have resolved their issues by then.

"At the moment it's hypothetical, but it certainly wouldn't be out of the question.

"It's a very big job, a huge honour but there are a number of issues to be resolved.

"I'd never count it out because it's one of the top five coaching jobs in the world."

England failed to reach their stated minimum aim of a semi-final place during the World Cup, losing to eventual beaten finalists France in the last eight, and there is no doubt the job of coaching the side is one of the most high-profile in the game.

But Mallett said the pressure on any England boss was not as great compared to that face by those coaching New Zealand or South Africa - rugby union's two traditional major powers.

Coaching New Zealand and South Africa are very big jobs as well in terms of expectation. There isn't a single game they expect to lose," he said.

"Apart from 2002, 2003, England isn't a team that has been consistently winning, especially against southern hemisphere teams, but the expectation is as high as in New Zealand or South Africa. In that way it's a very difficult job.

"It also has the most enquiring and intrusive media in the world and that makes it a very complicated job. You accept that if you do a job like this."

New Zealand World Cup-winning assistant coach Wayne Smith, who knows English rugby well from his time in charge of Premiership side Northampton, also indicated he would be interested in returning to England - but not until August.

Smith has a two-year contract with New Zealand's Chiefs but this has a break clause and the former All Blacks flyhalf said: "I'm interested in coming back to the UK. I want to come back, but what it will be to do I don't know."

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