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Brumbies snare NRL veteran coach Smith
By David Barbeler
16:03 AEST Tue Dec 11 2012

Brumbies coach Jake White says he feels like he won first prize after getting NRL coaching veteran Brian Smith to help improve his Super Rugby team's defence.

The move comes a month after the NRL blocked White's move to bring Newcastle Knights captain Danny Buderus in to assist part-time in the off-season.

"If I could obviously have a first choice I would rather take a coach," said White on Tuesday.

"(Smith) would have seen defence coaches come and go. He would have seen certain things that worked in defence that obviously didn't work the next season."

"If I look back now the first prize is getting a coach."

Axed by the Sydney Roosters after last season, Smith welcomed the novelty of a part-time consulting role in a different code after more than two decades as an NRL head coach with Illawarra, St George, Parramatta, Newcastle and the Roosters.

White said Smith would travel to Canberra twice a week to work with the Brumbies on defence until the season kicked off in February.

"I've made it quite clear when we got here that I wanted to improve our collision and try to improve our defence and I always felt that rugby league had something to offer," he said.

"It's very difficult in the coaching world to know where (Smith's) going to be in six months' time so we're basically going from month to month and come February when our season starts we'll see where Brian is and hopefully he can continue."

Smith said while it was his first ever work in rugby union, he would be focussing more on the contact aspect of defence rather than defensive patterns - even though the two weren't mutually exclusive.

"It's like a first day at school for me ...(I've) played one game of rugby at teachers' college and I had no idea what was going on around me, none whatsoever," he said.

"But this is where I'm best, not out there on the field, over on the other side of the line and trying to learn and analyse and put some stuff into place to help the guys do a good job."

Smith said while he would look at the possibility of doing more consultancy work in the future, it was too early to say.

"It just jumped out of the blue. I've had opportunities in the past to do a bit of consultancy and guest stuff but I've always felt that I was fully committed to my rugby league clubs," he said.

With Laurie Fisher as forwards coach the Brumbies essentially have three men with head coach experience onboard as well backs coach Stephen Larkham and George Gregan also working with players.

However White waved off suggestions too many cooks might spoil the broth.

"The reality is that it has become such a professional game now and the more input you get from the outside in all those little blocks the better your whole game is going to be," White said.

"I suppose some coaches like to do it on their own. I like to have people around me that challenge us, that improve our game."