Just seven weeks after retiring, former All Black centre Conrad Smith has already taken up a coaching job at French club Pau.
Smith, who played 94 Tests at centre for the All Blacks, 43 games for Wellington, 126 games for the Hurricanes and 52 for Pau, has joined the coaching staff of his French club Pau, where former All Blacks Colin Slade, Tom Taylor, Frank Halai, Jamie Mackintosh and Benson Stanley are in the club squad.
Smith told French rugby newspaper Midi Olympique that as soon as he had played his last game he cut off the weight training but was still running because he enjoyed that.
“I always like to run and even if I stop the rugby I am still very active,” he said.
Smith said during his offseason he had reflected on what he wanted to do and had discussions with players and other coaches in Europe and New Zealand and opted for the defence coaching role with the club.
“I have been thinking about what we can change, what other teams are doing well, what we can imitate, or adapt, to suit us. In rugby, there is never only one way to do things. A defensive system may suit one team but not another and because of that it is important to observe, understand and adapt,” he said.
The former Hurricanes captain also revealed he will be using his French to get the message across.
“I want to coach in French. It is necessary to do that. It is important to me to speak the local language. We are a French club and I want to speak French,” he said.
Club coach, and former All Black, Simon Mannix said while the club would lose a player they would welcome his contribution to the coaching panel which also includes Smith’s 2007 World Cup team-mate Carl Hayman.
“His strictness and his knowledge of the game would help our young players.
“For the past three years, he has been very involved in the club’s progression. He will be missed on the field because he is irreplaceable but he will bring us a lot technically. I’m looking forward to having him on our staff and I am sure he will develop into a great coach,” Mannix said.
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