Rugby

Smith leaves London Irish

2015-01-13 21:15

London - Premiership club London Irish confirmed on Tuesday that rugby director Brian Smith would lead the club for family reasons.

Smith has been granted early release from his contract, which was due to expire on 30 June, on "compassionate grounds" and he will return to Australia.

"My family has to be my priority right now which is why I have asked to be released from my contract early," said Smith.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my 10-year association with London Irish and will look back on my time with fond memories."

Former England attack coach Smith, 48, had two spells with Irish as rugby director.

He was in charge between 2005 and 2008, guiding the club to a third-place Premiership finish and the European Challenge Cup final.

He also took Irish to the 2008 European Cup semi-finals, when they were beaten by Toulouse at Twickenham.

Smith then spent three years with England, before returning to Irish in 2012, ensuring they retained their Premiership status for three successive seasons.

Exiles forwards coach Glenn Delaney will take on the role of interim head coach between now and the end of this season.

Irish are currently 20 points above Premiership bottom club and relegation favourites London Welsh, effectively securing their top-flight status for another season.

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