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All Blacks guru Smith tight-lipped about possibly replacing Conor O'Shea
The Irish coach is set to leave Harlequins at the end of the season.

NEW ZEALAND COACHING maestro Wayne Smith was today tight-lipped about his future but confirmed he had options as reports claimed he had been lined up to join English side Harlequins.

The Times in London earmarked the 58-year-old to replace current Harlequins coach Conor O’Shea who is set to leave the club at the end of this season.

“No comment really,” Smith told Radio Sport when questioned about a Harlequins deal.

“I’m considering several options regarding my coaching future, whilst also trying to have a short break from the game. I’m a wee way from making any decisions.”

Smith is widely regarded as one of the code’s best analytical brains and was a key member of the All Blacks coaching staff when they won the 2011 World Cup.

He stepped away from international coaching in 2012 and helped guide the Waikato Chiefs to two Super Rugby titles before being recalled to help the All Blacks in an advisory capacity in their successful 2015 World Cup campaign.

The 17-Test All Black emerged as a successful coach when he guided the Crusaders to win the 1998 and 1999 Super titles and took over as head coach of the All Blacks for two years after that.

Known to players as “the professor”, Smith worked in England as coach of the Northampton Saints for three seasons after resigning as All Blacks coach in 2001.

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He has since resisted all offers to move overseas citing his allegiance to New Zealand.

© – AFP, 2016

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