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Ex-All Blacks guru to boost Black Ferns

By AAP
(Photo by Fabien Pallueau/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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One of rugby union’s most respected coaches, Wayne Smith, has signed up to help New Zealand’s Black Ferns prepare for the Women’s World Cup on home soil this year.

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Smith was part of the All Blacks set-up for 16 years as an influential assistant, including for the 2011 and 2015 men’s World Cup triumphs, before retiring in 2017.

Smith will act as technical coach for the Black Ferns, who have a winning record not far behind that of the All Blacks and have won five of the seven women’s World Cups they have taken part in.

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Their hopes of retaining the title they won in Ireland in 2017 suffered a big setback, however, after they suffered four heavy losses in Tests against England and France in November last year.

Smith revealed that he had been inspired to come out of retirement by a commitment he made to his late friend Laurie O’Reilly, a women’s rugby trailblazer and the first coach of the Black Ferns.

“I indicated to him before he passed away that I would help the women’s rugby in whatever way I could, and now I get the chance,” Smith said in a statement.

“The coaching group is all on the same page around the type of game we need to play to win the World Cup.

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“There is a lot of work to be done to get there but it is going to be exhilarating.”

The ninth women’s World Cup, which was put back by a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, takes place in New Zealand from October 8 to November 12.

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