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'So frustrated with it': Wayne Smith driven to turn off Super Rugby for animal doco

By Ben Smith
New Zealand coach Wayne Smith looks on following the Rugby World Cup 2021 Final match between New Zealand and England at Eden Park on November 12, 2022 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Former All Blacks assistant and Black Ferns head coach Wayne Smith has shared his frustrations with the current state of the game.


After sitting through the Highlanders and Force clash where five yellow cards were issued, Smith switched the game off at half-time in favour of an animal documentary out of frustration.

Despite the players being great athletes, the game is being hampered by rules that slow down the contest and continually labour from set-piece to set-piece.

“I don’t know about you, but I’m getting frustrated with the game,” Smith said on the All Blacks podcast.

“Not the players, I’m frustrated with the game.

“I watched the game that Nic Berry refereed the other day, and his arm is out the whole time. Every single play, there’s an advantage.

“I turned off for the first time in my life at halftime. I actually put on program on the Lions in the Serengeti. I watched an animal documentary.

“I was so frustrated with it. I don’t know if it got any better in the second half. It probably did. But I just thought it’s not the sort of game I want to watch at the moment when it’s like that.”

Smith labelled the kicking to the corner from penalties as ‘incessant’ and threw up the idea of handing the opposition team the lineout throw to stop so many mauls occurring.

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Under Smith’s coaching the World Cup-winning Black Ferns utilised the quick tap frequently to get the game going, no matter where they were situated on the field.

However, the team they beat in the final, the Red Roses, were addicted to the rolling maul with hooker Amy Cockayne coming up with three tries for the losing side.

In Super Rugby Pacific last season hookers were becoming the competition’s top try scorers as rolling mauls became an unstoppable source of tries.

But this season order has resumed as the outside backs have returned to the top of the try scoring list.


Smith detailed how the flow of the game is hampered by long periods of advantage that ultimately direct the game into the set-piece battle.

“We’re going to go seven, eight phases and if it goes nowhere, we’re going to come back and it’s going to be a penalty.

“Then, 30 seconds to kick the ball and another 40 seconds for the lineout to happen. It’s going to be a drive that’s going to collapse, and It’s going to be an arm coming out.

“It’s going to come back to another penalty. Kick to touch, another drive. Then a yellow card comes out because they do it again.”


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