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Final flourish for Smith

All Blacks coach hoping to sign off in style

Last Updated: 08/07/11 5:22pm

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Smith: Confident of World Cup glory this autumn

Smith: Confident of World Cup glory this autumn

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New Zealand assistance coach Wayne Smith believes complacency will no longer be a factor when the All Blacks attempt to end their wait for World Cup glory.

Pre-tournament favourites and host nation New Zealand have failed to lift the Webb Ellis trophy since 1987, but are highly-fancied to rule on home soil once again when the event kicks-off on September 9.

The All Blacks have been placed in Pool A alongside Tonga, Japan, Canada and France with only Les Bleus expected to pose any problems in the group stages.

Indeed, it was France who cut their last campaign short, a shock 20-18 defeat in Cardiff sending the All Blacks crashing out in the quarter-final stages.


And, keen to learn the lessons from previous World Cup disappointments, Smith believes the world will see a much more passionate New Zealand side in action this time around.

"If you look back at the recent history we have failed to rise to the occasions at World Cups," Smith, who has agreed a coaching role with Super Rugby franchise the Chiefs after the World Cup, said.

"What I have noticed in recent World Cups is that the teams you play year after year have greater depth and patriotism at the main event.

"The perfect example was our defeat to France at the Millennium Stadium in 2007. In the lead up to that match we had beaten them 47-3 on Armistice Day (in Lyon) and twice comfortably at home (42-11 at Eden Park and 61-10 at Wellington).

"Those sorts of results lull you into a false sense of security as to where you are at and France came into the quarter-final and were prepared to die for the cause.

"I think we understand that now and will be better prepared this time."

New challenge

Speaking on his move away from the international set-up back to club rugby, Smith believes the offer from the Chiefs was simply "too exciting to turn down".

"It was a call I made quite a while ago. I set my sights on the Rugby World Cup and that that would be it for me," he added.

"It's my 12th year on and off with the All Blacks now and that's a hell of a long time. I felt it was not only the right time for me to move on, but for the All Blacks as well.

"Initially I wanted to have a bit of a break but a couple of years with the Chiefs at my home province will give me a new challenge.

"I had discussions with people (in England) but the Chiefs offer came out of the blue and it's too exciting an opportunity to turn down."

Get inside the game now with Graham Henry at The Rugby Site is a new website for the rugby community to learn from the game's top players and coaches and improve their skills, as well as share experiences. The Rugby Site team also includes players and coaches such as Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Bismarck du Plessis, Victor Matfield, Wayne Smith and Gregor Townsend.

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