Podium: Portia Woodman picks Allan Bunting to be next Black Ferns coach

Black Ferns superstar is Allan Bunting's backup for the top Black Ferns job


Black Ferns superstar is Allan Bunting’s backup for the top Black Ferns job

Black Ferns rugby star Portia Woodman has backed top seven Allan Bunting to succeed Wayne Smith as coach of the world champions.

While no word is expected before Christmas from New Zealand Rugby on who the next coach of the Black Ferns will be after Smith declined to appoint, Woodman has been clear on his choice.

“My money in … is not great” [to have] Allan Bunting, the Olympic gold medalist and Rugby World Cup winner told the Podium podcast on Tuesday outside Parliament.

Bunting – who led the Manawa Chiefs to the Aupiki Super Rugby title in 2022 – and Black Ferns assistant Wes Clarke appear to be front-runners for the gig, but Woodman and Bunting have a long history of success in seven rounds.

Head coach Allan Bunting led the Manawa Chiefs to the Super Aupiki title in 2012

Aaron Gillions / PHOTOSPORT

Head coach Allan Bunting led the Manawa Chiefs to the Super Aupiki title in 2012″

Bunting became head coach of the Black Ferns Sevens in 2016 after four years as an assistant, leading the team to three titles and a Tokyo Olympic gold medal. Black Ferns star Ruby Tui also spoke highly of Bunting and her dedication to the women’s game in her recently released book Right.

* Gold medal winning coach Allan Bunting given the Black Ferns culture business
* ‘NZR balled it up from the get-go’ – Black Ferns star on World Cup Coaching crisis
* Chiefs Manawa and Blues will be thinking about what’s next for Aupiki Super Rugby after a troubled start

Bunting was introduced to the Black Ferns 15s in May 2022 as manager of culture and leadership, following a review of the environment and culture of the Black Ferns that found negative experiences for both players and management, insensitive cultural comments, poor communication and conflicting opinions. , allegations of “favoritism” and “ghosting”, physical abuse and a lack of good recruitment, induction and ongoing support.

Outgoing head coach Smith was busy signing autographs for fans when asked who the next coach would be, but instead talked about how he was enjoying the Black Ferns environment.

Earlier in the celebration he said that the side: “vibrate, riot, excited… riot, commit, rejoice. Did I mention the rioters!

“They kept this fella on their toes anyway.”

Coach Wayne Smith joined the Black Ferns for the celebration at Parliament on Tuesday

Elias Rodriguez/Photosport

Coach Wayne Smith joined the Black Ferns for the celebration at Parliament on Tuesday

Soldier Henry Graham was also in Parliament on Tuesday, having joined Smith’s campaign for the Rugby World Cup winner. Could he be tempted to raise his hand now that he has experienced women’s rugby?

“Nah nah, I’m dead…almost,” he laughed as he retrieved a rugby ball for a stray fan.

Retiring Black Fern Kendra Cocksedge said she is “excited to whoever” is coming to the Black Ferns to coach, but it won’t be … now.

“Not yet! I have to go and coach, see if I enjoy it, and if there is anything good, I will go from there,” he said.

Sir Steve Hansen – whose daughter Whitney Hansen was part of the Black Ferns’ World Cup-winning team coach – told a podcast podium after the Rugby World Cup that he would “never again” coach the Black Ferns, making room for others. to hasten and sustain.

But whoever the new coach of the Black Ferns 15s is, he will miss World Cup scouting record holder Woodman (Ngāpuhi) working with them going back to sevens and hoping he can come in the last ever Hamilton Sevens tournament in January. He is slowly returning to training following a heavy head knock in November’s Rugby World Cup final against England.

“It’s really sad that we don’t have a point.” [the Hamilton Sevens] again New Zealand, we always put on such a show and the back of the World Cup at home, with such a turn of events, you’d think they’d want to play on the back of that, but you think we do. it’s just really awesome,” he said.


The Black Ferns gathered as a team last season in a famous reception in Parliament to complete their champion season.

It also means that they are looking for Super Rugby Aupiki to Manawa Chiefs.

“I contracted again with the last seven years, which is a little sad that they are fighting and we can’t do both. But I look forward to the seven next year again,” he said.

Sarah Hirini (Ngāti Kahungunu) confirmed that she “got to try and fight for my spot back” in the New Zealand Sevens squad, following the team’s victory in Cape Town last weekend. Stacey Fluhler (Tuhoe, Te Arawa) is eyeing a confirmed return to the podium at season seven in Hamilton, but is keeping his options open for the Black Ferns 15s in 2023.

Ruby Tui poses with a fan as she holds the Rugby World Cup outside Parliament on Tuesday.

Elias Rodriguez/Photosport

Ruby Tui poses with a fan as she holds the Rugby World Cup outside Parliament on Tuesday.

Ruby Tui was busy enjoying the festivities in Parliament to announce whether she will join Aupiki’s Super Rugby or next year’s Sevens.

“It’s hard to… what am I doing next year? What am I even doing next week?” He laughed as the crowd suggested he join the reality television show Celebrity Treasure Island.

“Bro, I don’t know what to do tomorrow, let alone next year!”

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