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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.

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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.

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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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Comments

11 Comments
F
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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Nickers 1 hours ago
'One of the poorest All Blacks performances I've seen in a long time'

Extreme hyperbole from Biggar. NZ have played far, far worse than that. The 20/21 team was by far the worst of the professional era. Losses to Argentina, shambolic game against Japan and hapless NH tour of 2021. But even that dreadful team were able to put 50 points on Wales and beat them by 38. Much easier to “tear them to pieces” from the commentary box apparently. Ignored by virtually everyone is how good the ABs defence was. That is why England didn’t win, they simply could not score enough points against that defence. The ABs attack was very average, but their defence was world class and that’s what won them the game. Any Wales team that Biggar has ever played for would have found themselves in the same situation and would definitely not have scored tries from those cross kicks. That ABs team beats Biggar’s best Wales team 31 - 13. England’s attack was as good as it was allowed to be by a superior defence. Hats off to Hansen, he has picked up where MacLeod finally got the ABs to last year and not missed a step. England’s attack will be a big worry for Borthwick. They have not established a reliable, repeatable way to break teams down and score points. They were held to some very low scores by average teams in the 6N, and again here didn’t cross 20 points on either occasion. If I was an England fan I would be crying out for a new attack coach. Borthwick would do well to cast his net now, a poor home winter with a faltering attack will start the calls for his job.

13 Go to comments
T
Thomas 1 hours ago
'Champions get up when they can't': Matt Williams weighs in on Ireland's win over Boks

While both teams have their particular positives, I think neither team should rest on their laurels. South Africa managed to tie a series against an uncomfortable opponent, that has had their numbers for a couple of years, while trial-running a completely new attack system, that still doesn’t work properly. But one aspect of “it doesn’t work yet” is a transition from attack to defense in broken play, as the Boks leaked three tries in two matches this way, and lost the second match as a result. Ireland avoided a series loss in a hostile environment, and in spite of many key player injuries, while managing to significantly improve and tighten their defense in game 2 (which demonstrates the breadth of their squad as well as their ability to adjust and recalibrate). At the same time, their own attack hadn’t amounted to much, either (save from exploiting the gaps in the Boks’ new system, gaps that won’t be there anymore in a few months’ time), and they haven’t found an answer to the Boks scrum, which almost costed them the 2nd match, if it hadn’t been for pretty much unrepeatable Frawley heroics. In the end, there isn’t much that separates those two sides … which is exactly what we knew before the series already. Back to the drawing board for both teams, the work only just begins for two teams with the highest ambition. Start of a cycle alright.

16 Go to comments
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