Black Ferns coach Wayne Smith has offered a reserved two cents on other rugby issues floating around New Zealand as he prepares his side for this weekend’s World Cup quarterfinal against Wales.
Smith addressed media in Northland this afternoon after naming his side for Saturday’s clash in Whangārei against Wales, saying it was a chance for them to front up after losing out physically when the two sides met in pool play.
“To be fair, [Wales] pumped us physically in that first game that we played them so we’ve got a bit of ground to make up,” Smith said.
“This is an opportunity for our girls to show that we can match them and that’s about attitude.”
Smith’s side kick-off against Wales at 7:30pm on Saturday, just 40 minutes after the All Blacks start their Test in Tokyo in Japan – a schedule clash New Zealand Rugby conceded was their fault after failing to identify it when planning the men’s fixture.
After plenty of colourful feedback yesterday afternoon following NZR’s statement, the head coach of the team affected by it all was asked his thoughts on the matter and who Kiwis should watch on game day.
Smith joked he would be watching the All Blacks in the coaching box on Saturday before giving a more serious answer.
“I think New Zealand Rugby have answered that – they stuffed up,” he said.
“Who should people watch on Saturday night? It’s up to them. We’ve got a huge crowd coming along on Saturday.”
Smith added the team itself wasn’t worried about the clash of times.
“We wouldn’t have known if it wasn’t for you,” he said laughing when asked by reporters.
“I didn’t have a clue until a read it in the news but it’s not an issue for me. I’ve put zero thought into it.”
The same could be said for the other rugby issue raised in New Zealand yesterday where principals of schools involved in the Auckland 1A First XV competition banned broadcasts and live streams of games next year for the wellbeing of players.
While Smith said he didn’t have any thoughts on the matter, he did have one issue he wanted addressed with secondary school rugby – poaching.
“I can see their point of view in that it’s shining the spotlight on kids too early,” he started off.
“And hopefully they’re moving away from that whole attitude of buying players in. If they’re going to talk about not putting a spotlight on them then don’t buy them in. Develop who you’ve got at the school.
“Hopefully that’ll be something that happens as well.”