Wayne Smith takes on new role with All Blacks, Black Ferns

Fri, May 26
Wayne Smith, pictured during a Black Ferns training session last year.

Wayne Smith has taken the whistle back off the wall to rejoin both the All Blacks and Black Ferns in a "unique, new" coaching role, New Zealand Rugby has announced.

NZR confirmed this morning Smith will oversee the two national sides as a performance coach, with his role also focused on mentoring and supporting the head coaches of each side.

“I have a deep connection and love for any team that wears the black jersey and particularly the Black Ferns and the All Blacks," Smith said.

"I also have strong relationships with the respective head coaches and many of the players, so it feels like this role across the two teams is a natural fit, and one where I can hopefully add and contribute to both environments.”

Smith stepped away from the international rugby scene last year after guiding the Black Ferns to World Cup glory on home soil less than 12 months after stepping into the role.

He was succeeded by former Sevens maestro Allan Bunting.

Prior to that, he had served the black jersey as an All Blacks assistant coach to both Sir Steven Hansen and Sir Graham Henry and was the All Blacks head coach himself between 2000 and 2001.

Sir Graham Henry and Wayne Smith pose after winning the Rugby World Cup.

NZR said this morning Smith has already begun working with Bunting to help the Black Ferns but will not be involved with the All Blacks until after this year's Rugby World Cup when Crusaders coach Scott Robertson takes over from the departing Ian Foster.

Smith said he intends to push his students to continue challenging norms and encourage them to think outside the box, much like he did with introducing the attacking style of rugby that helped the Black Ferns overcome England in last year's World Cup final.

“It’s important to consider different perspectives and solutions as coaches," he said.

"As we head into a new era for the game, I am a great believer in the importance of diversity, of relationships and of people. As a coach I’ve been very fortunate to have been exposed to that through my career."


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