Black Ferns coaching structure confirmed


Former All Blacks Coach Wayne Smith, who joined the Black Ferns as Technical Coach earlier this month, moves into the role of Director of Rugby.

He will be assisted by Wesley Clarke and Whitney Hansen. The latter being promoted from the intern coaching role that she has held within the team for the past two years.

Sir Graham Henry will join the team in a coaching support role while specialist coaches, including Mike Cron, will be used throughout the year.

Further announcements around the management structure, with specific focus on leadership and culture will be made in coming weeks.

New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson said the new structure puts the team in a solid position as they build into Rugby World Cup.


Wesley Clarke, Wayne Smith & Whitney Hansen at Black Ferns camp in Christchurch

“There is no questioning Wayne’s calibre as a coach and what he will bring to this team. We know he is excited to be involved in the Black Ferns and about what they can build this year.

“Wes has been a long-standing member of the Black Ferns coaching team, his insight and experience is invaluable. Whitney is a coach with a big future; she has impressed in her two years within the team, so this is great recognition of her ability and potential.”

“We know the entire management team and playing group are committed to what will be a massive six months, and NZR is dedicated to the success of the programme this year and in the future.”

The mid-year Black Ferns fixtures are due to be announced by World Rugby in coming days.

Wesley Clarke
Wesley Clarke joined the Black Ferns coaching group as Assistant Coach in 2015. Prior to joining New Zealand Rugby Clarke held a number of coaching positions in Manawatu with theirs men’s and women’s XVs and sevens team. He was part of the Rugby World Cup winning Black Ferns coaching group in 2017. This year, Clarke led the Hurricanes Poua in the inaugural season of Sky Super Rugby Aupiki.

Whitney Hansen
Whitney Hansen joined the Black Ferns in a World Rugby Intern Coach role in 2020. Hailing from Christchurch, Hansen had coached club and age group teams before joining the coaching teams for the Black Ferns Development side in 2019 and New Zealand Barbarians in 2020. She has been the Assistant Coach of Canterbury’s FPC team and this year’s Matatū Super Rugby Aupiki side.



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