All Blacks Legend Conrad Smith Lands Coaching Role

Coach Smith.

Seven weeks after hanging up his playing boots, former All Blacks centre Conrad Smith is back in rugby, having accepted a coaching role with Top 14 side Pau.

Smith has spent the last three seasons at the French side, and will now stay on in a coaching capacity as their new defence coach. Smith played 94 Tests for the All Blacks, and 126 games for the Hurricanes in a storied career.

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The 36-year-old told French rugby newspaper Midi Olympique that as soon as he had played his last game he cut off the weight training but was still running because he enjoyed that.

“I always like to run and even if I stop the rugby I am still very active,” he said.

Smith said during his off season he had reflected on what he wanted to do and had discussions with players and other coaches in Europe and New Zealand and opted for the defence coaching role with the club.

“I have been thinking about what we can change, what other teams are doing well, what we can imitate, or adapt, to suit us. In rugby there is never only one way to do things. A defensive system may suit one team but not another and because of that it is important to observe, understand and adapt,” he said.

Smith added that there was still plenty to learn about the game he had graced.

“During my career I’ve always played the same position, without really being interested in the forwards but now I have to take account of all the parameters.

“I have to accept the fact that I still don’t know a lot about rugby and that I will compensate for this by talking with players and coaches. Of course, I also hope that my playing experience will be a help, but I know perfectly well that good players do not necessarily become good coaches.”