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Wayne Smith's biggest struggle with the Black Ferns compared to the All Blacks

By Ben Smith
(Photo by Peter Meecham/Getty Images)

Black Ferns head coach Wayne Smith admitted there are aspects of coaching that Black Ferns that he struggles to adjust with compared with the All Blacks.


The former All Blacks assistant said coaching the two teams is ‘different’ as the women outwardly express themselves a lot more than the men who internalise their preparation.

He joked that he threatened to drive his own car to the ground after finding it difficult to handle the noise levels on the team bus.

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“It’s my first time coaching a women’s team, there is a difference,” Smith said after the Black Ferns win over Wales.

“I am struggling with the pregame prep and what it looks like compared to the years I had with the All Blacks.

“The men are more inside themselves and quieter, more detailed in terms of their individual preparation. The women love it, I can see why they love it. There is a lot of joy in what they do, they dance, and they sing. I am learning to love that; I find it a bit difficult at times on the bus.

“I did threaten I would take my own car to the next game but it’s great to see people absolutely loving what they do.”


Wales made it a difficult opening quarter for the Black Ferns at Waitakere Stadium but the home side clicked into gear to produce some classic movements as the match wore on.

Smith was impressed with the Welsh defence and labelled it a ‘step up’ from what they faced against the Wallaroos the week before.

“I thought the defence was outstanding, it was a big step up from last week. The attack, particularly the counterattack was really exiting.

“We have some work to do up front, their pack played well and put us under pressure. You always have something to work on, but we will get back on the grind this week.”


The Black Ferns brought in a host of changes to the starting side that were 41-17 winners over Australia but that didn’t hold them back as they ran away to a 56-12 victory over Wales.

With the final pool game against winless Scotland next week, more changes are expected as Smith believes there are many capable starters in his World Cup squad.

“This game is about how you prepare the accountability for being responsible for your own preparation. If you have 23 who have prepared really well then you get good performances.

“We are getting there. We have 32 women who are worthy of starts, so they will get starts.”

The man nicknamed “The Professor” confirmed that this was his last rodeo as a coach in any capacity and he would retire after this World Cup.

“Rugby has always been my life since I was five years old, whether I have been a coach or a club player, it’s something I have loved all my life,” he said.

“This will be it for me, I will retire after this permanently. What a way to finish, this is a lot of fun.”



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