England coach Tony Smith stands down

Tony Smith today stepped down as England coach and immediately began the search for his successor.<br> <br> The Australian-born Smith ended his three-year reign in the wake of last night’s 46-16 Gillette Four Nations final defeat by Australia, although he made the decision - largely for family reasons - before the tournament began.<br> <br> Smith, 42, whose contract with the Rugby Football League ran out last night, will now concentrate on his club job with Warrington Wolves, whom he guided to Carnegie Challenge Cup glory at Wembley in August.<br> <br> The former Huddersfield Giants and Leeds Rhinos coach, who took over from Brian Noble as Great Britain boss in March 2007, said: “I have greatly enjoyed my time as national coach and wish the team all the best in the future.<br> <br> “All of my coaching career I have put my personal aspirations first, however, I must now consider the needs of my family.<br> <br> “After talking to them it is clear that it is very difficult for me to cover the demands of both the club and international game.<br> <br> “Next year the Four Nations is in the southern hemisphere and after a long domestic season with Warrington it would mean at least six weeks away from home with England.<br> <br> “I must consider my family’s needs as well as my own and therefore believe now is the right time to stand down.<br> <br> “I will continue to support the national team in any way I can and wish my successor the very best of luck.”<br> <br> Smith enjoyed 10 wins in his 16 games in charge, the highlight of which was a 3-0 Test series whitewash of New Zealand in 2007, but he lost the ones that mattered most - last November’s World Cup semi-final to the Kiwis and the Four Nations final.<br> <br> RFL chairman Richard Lewis said: “Tony explained to us before the start of the Gillette Four Nations his reasons for not wanting to continue as national coach, which we appreciate, and we wish him well for his future.<br> <br> “Our aim is to win the 2013 World Cup and, by including so many youngsters in his Gillette Four Nations squad, Tony has certainly set the wheels in motion to achieve this.”<br> <br> Smith was the second Australian to take charge of the national side following the reign of David Waite from 2000-03, but took out dual citizenship in the run up to the 2008 World Cup after deciding to settle in England with his wife and two children.<br> <br> Smith remained full-time until March this year when he returned to club football with Warrington and relinquished his role of technical director with the RFL.<br> <br> He had missed the hands-on coaching involved at club level and enjoyed instant success by guiding the Wolves to victory over his old club Huddersfield at Wembley in August.<br> <br> Smith, who is contracted to Warrington until the end of the 2011 season, said he was now looking forward to helping the RFL unearth his successor.<br> <br> “I’ve got a great relationship with them and they’ve said they’d like me involved in the recruitment of him,” he said. “I hope to help the RFL make the best decision in the future of England rugby league.<br> <br> “I’m sure there are plenty of options but we’ve got to see who’s available and see who’s prepared to do the job, and whether the RFL are looking for a full-time or a part-time head coach.”