FORMER Doncaster Knights head coach Tom Smith has revealed he has stage four cancer.
The ex-Scotland and British Lions loosehead prop, 48, was appointed at Castle Park in April with a view to eventually taking over from director of rugby Clive Griffiths.
However, having started pre-season training, he left the club by “mutual consent” in August before taking charge of a game.
Smith, who lives in France with his wife and three children aged 18, 17 and nine, has since been diagnosed with colon cancer which has spread to his brain and liver.
He told BBC Radio 5 Live: "Life has changed very quickly.
“I want to do the right thing for my family; this all leaves you a bit exposed. “I'm lucky enough to have a good group of friends and a strong community helping and supporting.
"I played rugby for 15 years professionally. Aches and pains are part of the deal as you get older. I think I wrote it off until it got to the point that I needed to do something.
"I try to get on with things and that's probably my downfall. I was an idiot to ignore the symptoms.”
Former Northampton front-row Smith started every Test in the successful Lions tour of South Africa in 1997 and again in Australia four years later as well as winning 61 caps for Scotland.
He won the last Five Nations with Scotland in 1999 and players from that squad and the ‘97 Lions will attended a fundraising dinner in London in March.
A fundraising page has also been established which will aid charities focused on bowel cancer and supporting families in financial hardship as the result of the disease.
Smith has undergone chemotherapy and radiotherapy with more treatment yet to come.