Catt to join England set-up
Mike Catt will join England's coaching staff for next month's tour of South Africa, the Rugby Football Union have confirmed.
Catt will join Stuart Lancaster's backroom team next week after completing his duties with London Irish after their final Aviva Premiership match against Gloucester on Saturday.
The RFU have turned to Catt after revealing Wayne Smith, who had been offered a coaching role on a long-term basis, will remain in New Zealand for family reasons.
Lancaster welcomed the interim appointment of South African-born Catt for his first tour as England head coach following his full-time appointment following a successful RBS 6 Nations.
England will play three Tests against the two-time World Cup winners during a five-match tour.
"Mike has played at the top level and is highly respected," he said.
"He has done a great job at whilst coaching at London Irish and we are looking forward to working with him on this South Africa tour.
"He is experienced in playing in South Africa and this will be invaluable as we prepare for this challenging and exciting tour.
"While Mike, Graham Rowntree and myself will lead on the coaching for the tour we will also have Jon Callard and Simon Hardy as part of the coaching team."
Lancaster revealed Smith had informed him this morning that he would not be able to join the tour, saying: "I respect his decision, it is for family reasons.
"I do think we are on the right track and I am pleased to have Catty - it is a great opportunity for him."
Catt, who helped England win the 2003 World Cup during 75 appearance, said he was looking forward to returning to the international fold under Lancaster.
"I was very impressed with England during the Six Nations, not just the way they played but the culture that is developing, and hopefully I can complement what Stuart and Graham are doing," he said.
"There are some talented young players coming through and the chance to work with them for the Barbarians game and the tour is really exciting.
"I'll be sad to leave London Irish and I want to say a huge thanks to all the players and coaches I have worked with since 2004.
"Toby Booth in particular deserves massive credit for what and how he has taught me. Thanks also to the supporters who have been brilliant over the last eight years and I will take away some lasting memories."
London Irish chief executive Andy Martin admitted the departure of Catt, after almost a decade with the club, was a blow but said he did not want to stand in the way of the 40-year-old's ambitions.
"On behalf of everyone at London Irish I would like to thank Mike for his eight years as a player and coach with the club," he said.
"He has made an outstanding contribution during his time with us both on the field and as a role model in sharing his extensive knowledge and experience.
"We are disappointed to see him leave. However, we completely understand that he has been offered an opportunity that he could not turn down and we wish him and his family all the very best for the future."
The decision by Smith to turn down England comes after Andy Farrell opted to remain in the domestic game with Saracens rather than take up a full-time post with the national side.
Lancaster now intends to put the issue to one side and will look at it again after the South Africa tour.
He said: "Wayne Smith rang me this morning and he is staying in New Zealand.
"For family reasons - he has got his parents close to him and his son is at university over there - he felt it was going to be best to stay over there.
"It is clearly disappointing but in the short term the next step for me is to focus all my energies on South Africa with Mike and Graham and I will review the coaching situation after the tour, four months before the autumn internationals.
"We will see how we go. I won't be charging around the world looking for coaches. We will try to get South Africa right.
"The experience Wayne would have brought would have been greatly beneficial but he has made his decision.
"We had a long conversation this morning and he very complimentary about the way we are going, but it is for family reasons."
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