Wayne Smith named new Black Ferns head coach

By Will Trafford

Photo / NZME

Wayne Smith has been named as the new coach of the Black Ferns.

The former All Blacks coach who joined the Black Ferns earlier this month as a technical coach will take on the title of director of rugby, carrying the team through the 2021 Rugby World Cup being played later this year due to Covid-19 postponements.

Smith replaces Glenn Moore, who left his role after a highly critical report into the team’s culture earlier this month.

Speaking to media, Smith acknowledged the team had work to do but says he and the players are up for the challenge.

"You're talking about playing against teams - particularly a couple of teams, England and France - and physical development is important, so there's some catching up to do.

"I've been really impressed since I've started with the attitude of the players," Smith said.

Whitney Hansen promoted

"I never thought that at this time in my career I'd be embarking on something new again, and that's what I'm doing."

Smith will be assisted by Wesley Clarke and Whitney Hansen. Hansen, the daughter of former All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, has been elevated from an intern coaching role she’s held in the team for the past two years.

Sir Graham Henry will also join the team in a coaching support role while specialist coaches, including Mike Cron, will be used throughout the year.

NZRU chief executive Mark Robinson said the new structure puts the team in a "solid position" as they build into the Rugby World Cup.

“There is no questioning Wayne’s calibre as a coach and what he will bring to this team. We know he is excited to be involved in the Black Ferns and about what they can build this year.

“Wes has been a long-standing member of the Black Ferns coaching team, his insight and experience is invaluable. Whitney is a coach with a big future; she has impressed in her two years within the team, so this is great recognition of her ability and potential.”