Retired Black Fern keeps her career as a police sergeant

By Bronson Perich

World champion Black Fern lock Charmaine Smith is retiring because her health would be put at risk if she continues playing.

“Continuing to play rugby would leave me with a potentially serious spinal injury,” Charmaine Smith says.

When she isn’t playing netball or rugby, Smith is a sergeant in the New Zealand Police. She says although injury ended her days on the pitch, it won’t keep her off the streets.

“That was massive for me because being a police officer is really important for me,” Smith says.

“It’s more around the uncertainty of scrummaging, and that kind of thing with my neck, rather than anything that would affect me being a police officer.”

Smith also talked about the impact that the death of Constable Matthew Hunt has had on her.

The black jersey

“You don’t have to know someone personally to feel for what’s happened,” she says.

“I guess it is a reality of the dangers that every police officer in New Zealand can face when we put on our uniform and go to work.”

Sergeant Smith says she will miss wearing the Black Ferns' jersey and playing before a home crowd.

“The moment where you put on the black jersey, and you walk out and do the haka on a home crowd, there’s nothing that really compares to that.”

The lock most famously scored a try in the 2017 women’s Rugby World Cup final against England.

Despite being a world champion player, she thinks coaching is not for her.

“I don’t think I know enough about rugby to be a coach!”

But being involved in the game is still on the cards.

As for the Black Ferns, Smith says fans should stay locked on to newcomer Saphire Abraham.