Unsurprisingly the Australian is combative about the challenge, but not to a fault; he remains pragmatic and says that although the club is struggling on the field of play at present he expects a positive end to what has proved a difficult season so far.
He took the time to speak with 'The Exile' about re-assessing his goals, and transforming this talented young squad into a battle-hardened rugby team which knows how to get results.
Brian Smith is not the type of man who buries his head in the sand at the first sign of trouble, and it's a good thing for London Irish. Taking arms against a sea of troubles, as the great Bard himself once wrote, seems the only course of action given the plight of the club in a frigid and unforgiving December.
Last weekend's disastrous result at Gloucester all but ended our European endeavour this season unless the French perform minor miracles on our behalf, and the murmur amongst the faithful is that our unceremonious departure from the Amlin may not be such a bad thing if one spends any time considering the Aviva Premiership table.
Brian's stated intention since the start of the campaign has been a positive assault on three fronts but the double hit from Gloucester and single solitary win in the Aviva have laid that strategy bare. With Premiership survival at stake, the priorities have shifted, he confirms - but the mindset will remain positive and pragmatic at all times. He says,
"We know we're in a tight spot, we've got a good team, one of the key things is that as a group it's all been very constructive and we've stuck together. That's very important. The honesty in our reviews has to be there across the board and our criticism has been constructive.
"The key is to keep fighting. If we do that we give ourselves some chance of success. We're still going well in the LV=Cup, obviously we've got a lot of work to do in the Premiership. We're fighting for respect as much as anything at the moment."
The parameters of success for London Irish have been re-aligned given the woes in the League. It's a necessity says Smith, that the task is tackled correctly,
"We've shown our hand in the Sevens that we wanted to have a crack at everything and we got the job done there. We wanted to be in the play-offs in every competition; in the LV=Cup we're still well-positioned. A top four spot in the Aviva Premiership is probably out of our grasp but we want to squeeze ourselves up the table and finish in the top six. That's still achievable at this point. We've got to be realistic about that. We've got a lot of work to do."
Irish supporters have taken the pain with exactly the right measure of stoic realism, although they have every right to feel pessimistic. The general mood seems one of bemusement that such a talented playing group can be under-performing to such a degree.
The performances against Northampton and Quins were outstanding - we all know what we can do on our day - but other performances have left a lot to be desired. Trips to Wasps, Worcester and Welsh in the League have left supporters scratching their heads, and last weekend's trip up the M4 was every bit as bad. Brian and his team have been working on identifying the problem.
"I guess what I'd say about our squad at the moment is that we have a collection of very talented players - some of those we'll manage to hold on to and some of those obviously other clubs are making overtures to. I think what's most important when you're trying to put together a winning rugby team is to remember that a collection of very talented players does not make a hard-nosed productive winning rugby team. That's what our challenge is.
"Part of that is personnel, the other part of that is the rugby programme and the measure of all of that is success on the pitch."
"If you look at our game, I think the attack had been ticking over quite well in the last couple of seasons, and it continues to do so. As I say, we do have some talented players and scoring tries hasn't been a major issue for us."
"In the summer we looked at the production from the pack at the scrum and the lineout drive, because lineout winning ability was there, but the drive wasn't as strong as it needs to be in the Northern Hemisphere. To be fair we've made a pretty big dent there; we can go toe to toe with any team in the Premiership.
"On our day we can bully top four teams like we did with Northampton at home and obviously as a team we showed we can compete against the Harlequins - I think we probably deserved the victory that day and obviously we had that strange call in extra time.
"In those two areas we've come on well and I think the difference between a collection of talented players and a hard nosed team comes down to your defence. That's a certainly a big signpost to the enthusiasm, energy and drive; and it hasn't been great in the last couple of seasons at London Irish so we've worked hard."
So defensive coach Shaun Edwards clearly has his work cut out, Smith concedes - Irish are shipping tries in the final quarter like never before - a highly displeasing fact, he agrees, saying
"It's quite ironic. The last time I came to the club in 2005 it was a top four defensive team but had the worst try scoring record in the League so in many respects things have changed completely. Now we have a healthy try-scoring record but we are simply shipping too many tries and fifty percent of the tries we have conceded have been in the last twenty minutes of the game, so we've had a pretty good look at our conditioning, and we've had a look at the mindset."
"We're a little short on confidence at the moment, but we've got a talented group so it's up to the coaches to turn this group into a hard-nosed, winning team."
Rumours abound about players moving to pastures new are a worry that most clubs have at this time of year, with the January period being a mess of competing ego and ambition for all but the three or four wealthiest clubs in the land. Brian says the professional rugby landscape is such that such concerns are inevitable, and certainly not confined to London Irish. He says you can only worry about the things in your control,
"France is continuing to be a drain on the Premiership and that has knock on consequences because the clubs with big budgets here start trying to pick of the best players from the other clubs, so they French clubs weigh in and take a big prop out of one of the Midlands clubs, and then obviously they are running around trying to replace him, looking at every opportunity to do so.
"For our players and for everyone involved in a hands-on capacity at London Irish is just to worry about the things we can control. At the moment for me and the rest of the coaches that is that we're putting out a cutting edge rugby programme while our review process is really honest and searching and while we continue to do that we'll give ourselves a good shot.
"What we've tried to do is be up front and transparent with the boys. We've made robust offers to the key players and some have agreed terms, others are hedging their bets but that's life.
"In January we'll obviously be able to look around as well and certainly there are players outside of the UK pool that you can look at any time of the year. I can assure you that whatever happens we'll be building the squad and any money that's not spent on retaining players will be spent replacing them."
Superlatives are often the weapons of choice of writers - but 'The Exile' might just refrain this once. London Irish and Brian Smith have a mountain to climb starting today against the Midlands aristocracy in Leicester Tigers. Room for error is not a luxury that Irish have afforded themselves from here on in. Let's hope the players can justify Brian's obvious faith in them out on the field today.
Show your "Exile-Style" and wear it with pride!