England rugby league chiefs reject Smith exit talk as 'dirty trick' as side count down to semi

England have dismissed speculation that their under-fire coach Tony Smith is prepared to walk out on his job with a year left of his contract.

The rumours have been dismissed as 'dirty tricks and disruption' ahead of England's World Cup semi-final against New Zealand on Saturday morning.

But Smith has not helped himself. He did not talk to the media until late on Friday - through an official website.

NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 08:  England coach Tony Smith looks dejected after losing the 2008 Rugby League World Cup Poo

Tight-lipped: Under-fire boss Tony Smith has not spoken widely about his England future and is looking ahead to his side's semi-final against New Zealand

He said: 'We are hurting after last week's result but we have trained hard and tried to fix up a lot of things that we needed to fix, and there is a real determination to give a performance across the board for the full 80 minutes.'

The England coach was not available to comment yesterday on claims that he has been short-listed for the head coach's job at Parramatta.

A spokesman for the England party insisted that Smith had not been approached by the Eels or had any interest in a job which seemed 'nailed on' for former St Helens coach Daniel Anderson.

Even New Zealand are mystified by England's poor PR strategy this week.

epa01538685 England players (R-L) Kevin Seinfield, Keith Senior express disappointment as they leave the playing filed after losing  the Australia versus England Rugby League World Cup pool match at Docklands Stadium in Melbourne, 02 November 200

Must step it up: England have had a difficult time at the World Cup and will need to be on top of their game to have any chance against New Zealand on Saturday

Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney said: 'I'm in no position to say what England should do but it is a World Cup semi-final and we all have a duty to do what is best for our game.'

Cayless said: 'We want to see a sell-out and the more access there is to the teams, the more interest there will be.'

The Kiwis named their starting line-up and replacements on Thursday but England are unlikely to follow suit until an hour before the kick-off. But Paul Wellens' ankle injury makes him a big doubt.

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