OLLIE Smith says he can look back on his first season of coaching in professional rugby with a great deal of satisfaction after London Welsh secured a Premiership return.

Smith joined Welsh as an assistant coach after a successful ‘trial’ at the start of the campaign, having spent a year as head coach at National 1 side Esher.

The former Leicester, England and Lions centre described Welsh’s promotion season as “very pleasing”.

“I am starting at the bottom of the ladder in coaching again,” he said.

“I am just trying to find my way and get experience.

“What an experience in my second season of coaching.

“I can’t fault it and credit to Justin and the guys at London Welsh for giving me that opportunity to be involved.”

Smith has made his mark on the Exiles’ defence, with their rearguard action in the final at Bristol a case in point.

He said: “I concentrate on the defence, which has been one of our fortes this season.

“To finish the regular sea-son with the best defensive record was outstanding.

“It doesn’t mean much in the play-offs if you concede tries, but after a poor showing at Leeds, we were on the mettle for the last three games.”