Dave Rennie and Wayne Smith land new coaching jobs in Japan and New Zealand respectively
Former Wallabies head coach Dave Rennie has landed a new job in Japan after being named as Kobe Steelers head coach for the 2023/24 season.
The deal was announced by the Japan Rugby League One outfit on Friday, with Rennie having been sacked by Rugby Australia in January in a shock move.
New Zealander Rennie had previously been head coach of the Chiefs in Super Rugby and Scottish team Glasgow Warriors before taking the Wallabies gig.
However, a winning record of just 38% ultimately cost him his job at Test level, with former England head coach Eddie Jones subsequently taking over.
Rennie’s coaching team at Kobe Steelers next season is set to include Wesley Clarke (defence coach) and Phil Healey (head coach of athletic performance).
The Steelers did not reveal the length of the coaching contracts as the club looks to bounce back from a disappointing ninth-place finish this campaign.
Rennie and his backroom team will be keen to wrestle the Japan Rugby League One title from the grasp of Kubota Spears, who won the final last weekend.
Wayne Smith gets new role with New Zealand Rugby
In other news, Wayne Smith has been named as performance coach to the Black Ferns and All Blacks in a role that includes mentoring their head coaches.
Smith’s responsibilities will also extend to enhancing the quality of coaching delivery across the two teams, an All Blacks statement revealed on Friday.
Smith has already started working with Black Ferns director of rugby Allan Bunting but will not begin with the All Blacks until after the 2023 World Cup.
That will see him link up with new head coach Scott Robertson, who takes over from the outgoing Ian Foster after the upcoming tournament in France.
Highly respected Smith said he was grateful to be able to continue his long association with the legacy of the black jersey and New Zealand Rugby (NZR).
“I have a deep connection and love for any team that wears the black jersey and particularly the Black Ferns and the All Blacks,” he told the All Blacks.
“I also have strong relationships with the respective head coaches and many of the players, so it feels like this role across the two teams is a natural fit, and one where I can hopefully add and contribute to both environments.”
Smith led the Black Ferns to 2022 World Cup glory and is keen to continue to challenge norms and encourage coaches and players to think outside the box.
“It’s important to consider different perspectives and solutions as coaches,” he continued.
“As we head into a new era for the game, I am a great believer in the importance of diversity, of relationships and of people. As a coach I’ve been very fortunate to have been exposed to that through my career”.
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