Cape Town - Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett says England made a mistake by not appointing New Zealander Wayne Smith as coach three years ago.
Mallett, 58, was in line for the England head coaching job, but lost out to Stuart Lancaster.
In an interview with The Times, Mallett said he would have appointed Smith as his assistant coach had he got the England job.
Smith was the All Blacks’ assistant coach when they won the 2011 Rugby World Cup and also helped the Chiefs to back-to-back Super Rugby titles in 2012 and 2013.
Mallett claims Smith is such a brilliant coach he would have taken England's attacking game to a far higher standard than they have achieved under Lancaster, and specified flyhalf Owen Farrell as a player who would have been transformed by Smith's advice.
Lancaster's backroom team includes Farrell's father Andy.
Mallet said: “(Had we been appointed) there would have been a lot more fluidity and cutting edge to the England attack. Perhaps with a guy like Wayne Smith coaching, Owen Farrell wouldn't be as wooden as he sometimes is with ball in hand.
"There would be a clarity about the way in which England play in the backline. He coaches attack by manipulating the opposition defence, he coaches players to read the space and take better decisions on the field.
"A big point of difference with the New Zealand forwards is that they can all pass like centres, they are multi-skilled, and that is what he would have brought to the England side."
Mallett was however modest about the role he himself would have played with England, but heaped praise on Smith.
“I don't think England are missing anything in not having me as a head coach, but I do think England have missed having Wayne Smith. He and I were keen to do it together and he really is world class."
Mallett coached the Springboks from 1997-2000 and also Italy from 2007-2011.
He currently works as a rugby pundit for pay-channel SuperSport.