Rugby: Smith takes coach mentoring role at All Blacks, Black Ferns

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FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union – Women’s World Cup – Final – England v New Zealand – Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand – November 12, 2022 New Zealand head coach Wayne Smith celebrates winning the Women’s World Cup with Luka Connor REUTERS/David Rowland

(Reuters) – Women’s Rugby World Cup-winning coach Wayne Smith has taken a new role as a mentor for staff at the All Blacks and the national women’s ‘Black Ferns’, New Zealand Rugby (NZR) said on Friday.

The governing body said in a statement his “Performance Coach” role will include “mentoring and supporting the respective head coaches and enhancing the quality of coaching delivery across the two teams.”

Smith, affectionately known as “The Professor” in New Zealand, guided the Black Ferns to their World Cup triumph on home soil last year before stepping down, and helped mastermind two World Cup titles with the men’s team.

Smith has already started working with Black Ferns coach Allan Bunting but will not start his All Blacks role until after this year’s World Cup in France when Scott Robertson takes over as head coach from Ian Foster.

“I have a deep connection and love for any team that wears the black jersey and particularly the Black Ferns and the All Blacks,” 66-year-old 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.”

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