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'Coaches are too scared': How Wayne Smith became a Test rugby 'exception'

By Finn Morton
(Photo by Fiona Goodall - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Rugby guru Wayne Smith is a generational coaching talent, and the 65-year-old will undoubtedly go down in history as an all-time great following multiple World Cup triumphs.

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The man known by many as ‘The Professor’ reached rugby immortality during history-making stints with the All Blacks, as they crowned world champions twice in four years.

But his genius reached new heights last month, as he led the Black Ferns to seemingly unlikely world cup title on home soil.

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Smith, who was named World Rugby’s Coach of the Year, revolutionised the Black Ferns’ attacking gameplan with a unique approach to the sport.

For quite a few years now, international rugby teams have adopted the philosophy that you’re better off playing without the ball.

But not the Black Ferns.

New Zealand ran the ball from anywhere and everywhere, and weren’t afraid to play to their strengths even if it went against the status quo.

Well, the thought-provoking approach to the 15-player game could change the way other nations play in the years to come.

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Former British and Irish Lions star Jeremy Guscott believes Eddie Jones’ successor must consider the “art of the attack”, as offensive minded coaches have become less influential in years gone by – but there’s “one glaring exception.”

“One glaring exception is Wayne Smith, but the New Zealander is in a bracket of his own because, as well as being a great attack coach, he is also a great all-rounder,” Guscott told The Rugby Paper.

“It’s my belief that the art of the attack in the 15-man game has to be rediscovered.

“It is almost as if attack has been downgraded rather than elevated, and many of the coaches are too scared to speak out.

“England need attack coaches, who can educate and enthuse players to attack.

“Wayne Smith is definitely one of those, as he showed by transforming the New Zealand women’s team that has just won another world title.”

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Leicester Tigers coach Steve Borthwick is expected to be named as Eddie Jones’ replacement in the coming days by the Rugby Football Union.

Borthwick has been heavily linked with England’s top job since Jones was sensationally axed by the RFU.

Six-time Super Rugby champion Scott Robertson had reportedly met with the RFU in the past, but has missed out on his first coaching gig in Test rugby.

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B.J. Spratt 4 hours ago
Jono Gibbes' reaction to France U20s putting 55 points on New Zealand

N.Z. Under 20'‘s concede 7 tries to France Unfortunately New Zealand Rugby has lost over 25% + of players between 12-18 over the last 3-5 years, possibly more. Poor administration and a Shocking Public Perception about the NZRFU has finally caught up with these dinosaurs. 66% of N.Z. Population lives North of Hamilton and 52% of Auckland population are Asian, who would rather play football. Rugby is dying while other Sports are growing. The rules need to change around the collision/tackle but personally I think the absolute “Arrogance and Stupidity” that the NZRFU has demonstrated over the decades, “with their jobs for the boys attitude” has led to their demise. A Professional Players Union that can somehow “Disassociate itself from the “Old men with bad breath and dandruff” that is the NZRFU, will be a huge challenge. Personally I think it’s far too late to recover and rejuvenate interest in Rugby by young players. Rugby is booming in France and that’s the difference. A booming Professional domestic League. NZRFU are “Not fit for purpose” and have no idea about commercial reality My kids generation would rather their kids don’t play Rugby. Very aware of CTE and the NZRFU arrogance and stupidity, in denying its existence. Finally, the NZRFU have managed to cover up ”Numerous serious crimes over the decades, committed by players, coaches and administrators simply because the tentacles of their “Power and Influence” have reached all sectors of New Zealand Society, including the Judiciary, Politicians, Police and Big business. Denying CTE even exists is a “no brainer for them”

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