Smith clear favourite to take charge at Esher

First published in Rugby Union Your Local Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Sports editor

Harlequins centre Ollie Smith has not ruled out playing again even if he lands the head coach job at Esher.

The 29-year-old has emerged as the clear favourite to take over at Molesey Road in the wake of the club’s relegation from the Championship and Mike Schmid’s move upstairs.

He was a part-time member of Schmid’s backroom team last season and was still hopeful of rekindling a playing career that has been blighted by a serious knee injury suffered in 2010.

He was interviewed for the job last week and had been expected to be unveiled on Monday, along with an experienced forwards coach as his assistant.

But former director of rugby and new chief executive Schmid was still hammering out an agreement for his replacements on Tuesday night.

“I hope to be confirming the new deal at some stage today,” said Schmid on Tuesday morning.

The Molesey Road club had also been expected to confirm a list of players it hoped to retain to spearhead a tilt at the National Division One title and a swift return to the second tier of English rugby.

Chairman John Inverdale had hoped the new coach would be in post sooner-rather-than-later, but the process has dragged out, with the stumbling block understood to be who will be appointed assistant to Smith.

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