Former All Blacks Coach Wayne Smith has moved into the role of Director of Rugby of the Black Ferns, and he will be assisted by Wesley Clarke and Whitney Hansen.
Sir Graham Henry will join the team in a coaching support role, with Mike Cron’s services to be used throughout the year.
Veteran Black Ferns halfback Kendra Cocksedge said she had real fire in the belly when she heard Wayne Smith was coming into the environment.
“He [Wayne Smith] came into camp two weeks ago and just the vibe in the group is really exciting. He is known as the professor and for me as an experienced player, I’m just eager to get what’s up there [in his head] out on the field.
“It’s exciting to work alongside someone that has such high calibre in the game and now he’s coming across to the women’s game.”
Cocksedge, who has played 57 Test matches, said the team have gone through a couple of processes, post the Black Ferns review and resignation of Glenn Moore, and they are now in a good place.
“The girls are ready. We are tighter than ever and the vibe is really good. There is good energy and we are just looking forward to getting onto the grass and getting into it and moving forward.”
Newly appointed Assistant Coach Whitney Hansen joined the Black Ferns in 2020 in a World Rugby Intern Coach role. Hailing from Christchurch, Hansen also currently holds coaching roles with Canterbury’s Farah Palmer Cup team and the Matatū Super Rugby Aupiki side.
Hansen is a former teammate of Cocksedge, and she’s delighted to see her take a step up in the coaching ranks.
“She’s my coach for Matatū and Canterbury and now she is a coach for the Black Ferns. I’m super proud of that and I think the girls really respect that. We are excited to have her on board.”
Smith and Henry have looked back on the Black Ferns unsuccessful end of year tour footage in great detail. Cocksedge said the coaching group know what’s going on in their space and they want to soak up all their knowledge so they can help bridge the gap between them and the likes of England and France.
Cocksedge is confident about their chances at the World Cup and with only six months until showtime, there’s a mixture of excitement and nerves.
“I think we will go well at this World Cup and the attitude of the girls is that they are ready to get out on the grass and do what we need to do to get us there and go well.”
The 2021 Rugby World Cup, played in 2022, kicks off on October 8, with matches to be played at Eden Park, Waikākere Stadium and Northland Events Centre in Whangārei. Find out more information HERE.
The Black Ferns upcoming Test schedule for 2022 will be announced shortly.