NZR officially begin search to find next Black Ferns coach

November 23, 2022
Black Ferns Director of Rugby Wayne Smith.

The search to find the next Black Ferns coach has officially begun, with New Zealand Rugby confirming applications are now open to become Wayne Smith's successor.

NZR confirmed this afternoon they were now taking offers for the Black Ferns Director of Rugby job with Smith keeping true to his word and retiring following the conclusion of the Rugby World Cup earlier this month.

Smith departs on the ultimate high, having turned around the side in less than 12 months to guide them to a World Cup on home soil which saw him recognised as Coach of the Year at this week's World Rugby Awards.

“This is one of the most important coaching roles in New Zealand, to be appointed at the most exciting time we have known in the women’s professional game,” NZR general manager of professional rugby and performance Chris Lendrum said in a statement.

“It is vital that we follow a robust and thorough process to find the best candidate to lead the team on and off the field, taking us forward again following the incredible performance of the team this year.”

Lendrum thanked Smith for setting the bar with his efforts since taking over earlier this year.

“On behalf of New Zealand Rugby, I’d like to acknowledge Wayne Smith for the incredible level of dedication, expertise and passion he has given to the Black Ferns. Wayne’s contribution to the team and positive influence on the players has been immense and in some ways he is irreplaceable.

“It will be up to the new director of rugby and NZR to work together to build and support a whole team of people – players and management – to take the team to even greater places. We are all up for the challenge.”

Assistant coach Whitney Hansen has already said she doesn't feel ready for the role.

One who might is defence coach Wes Clarke.

Lendrum said earlier this week that NZ Rugby would ideally like a mix of male and female applicants, but that the person most suited to the role would get it.

Applications for the role close on December 2.