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Smith Replaced As BOP Coach

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Smith Replaced As BOP Coach

Wellington, Aug 12 NZPA - Bay of Plenty rugby coach Greg Smith's contract has been terminated by mutual agreement, the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union said today.

Technical adviser Sean Horan has been appointed head coach for the remainder of the season while Steve Miln remains assistant coach.

Smith was appointed as Kevin Schuler's successor in March this year, but stood down before the Air NZ Cup competition began on July 30 amid claims of a player revolt and a breakdown with management.

The former Waikato and Fiji hooker left the team's preparation for the Air NZ Cup with Horan and Miln as caretaker coaches.

After two rounds of competition, Bay of Plenty top the table with two wins - a first round 19-14 win over Northland followed by a 32-9 victory over Counties-Manukau last Sunday.

A statement today from the the Bay of Plenty union said due to a "breakdown in certain aspects of the relationship", it was in the best interests of both parties to terminate Smith's contract.

"We do not attribute responsibility to Greg Smith for this," the statement said.

Smith had displayed a high level of technical ability and professionalism in his role and in his relationship with the players, the union said.

It wished to thank Smith for his commitment to the success of the team and for his high degree of professionalism.

"This has been a difficult period for both parties. We wish Greg Smith every success for the future."

Neither the Bay of Plenty union nor Smith would comment further, the statement said.

Smith's one-year appointment came under scrutiny at board level after Bay of Plenty stuttered to a 29-18 win over Counties-Manukau before dropping their second trial match to Hawke's Bay 7-35.

With four provinces to be dropped from this year's Air NZ Cup to make way for a 10-team premier division next year, Bay of Plenty's coaching crisis was hardly ideal.

Smith, 35, previously coached Waikato club Fraser Tech to club championship victory last year and has been a scrum coach for the Waikato Rugby Union.

In 2001 he was the assistant coach of Fiji when they won the Pan Pacific championship.

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