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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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Frank 192 days ago

You know what is really boring and a waste of time? The HAKA. Takes at least 5+ minutes before the game starts. That is one rule you can delete. Why is it only NZ complaining about the state of rugby? I take it during the time the All Blacks won the RWC 2011, 2015 and everything else inbetween e.g RC & Super Rugby everything was fine and not boring at all? Why because NZ dominated but now that NZ get beaten they cannot take it dont like it and want to change the rules to suit them. Go ahead Rassie Erasmus will come up trumps again. WR tried their best to try and elinminate the Springboks duirng the playoffs Boks facing 4 tier one teams and one Tier 1 team in the final but still became World Champions. Wow must hurt you guys big time. You guys do not likew palying chess huh? Thats rugby like chess. you outfox, out muscle, overpower etc your opponent.

Poe 434 days ago

Nice to see Smithy coming out with this. Rugby shouldn't be allowed to devolve to milk the penalty. Lineout maul tries and yellow cards- now infesting the game.

Rob 435 days ago

This attitude turned the ABs around when they got caught up in the idea of having big forwards and not much else decades ago but my god is the arrogance irritating. For the country that changed the game by playing to demanding that the game must change because they say so stinks of entitlement and lack of creativity. For all the criticism of northern hemisphere rugby being a slower more boring game the state of the game seems in good health up here. Maybe I’m biased but just because the game isn’t flourishing the way you’d like when you watch your teams doesn’t mean the rules have to change maybe your teams need to adapt to the times.
On top of this the rule change he’s suggesting encourages teams to supersize their pack, if the only way you can win the ball is to physically smash your opposition out of the ruck surely you’re going to get increasingly serious injuries that will require intervention by way of red cards, which I’m fairly sure he won’t like because it’ll ruin the contest. So how will it be, you can’t have it both ways.

Connor 435 days ago

He's right, constant advantages mean that so many of the defensive plays and turnovers don't matter. Let the players decide the game. My least favourite is when a team has a dominant scrum, wins their ball cleanly and also gets a penalty advantage... It's becoming a game where statistically you're stupid to not go for rolling maul tries, since they are always a mess, always yield tries and when they don't there are penalty tries and yellow cards for the defending team. Gross

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