10 Feb 2023

Allan Bunting named Black Ferns new coach

1:57 pm on 10 February 2023
Black Ferns head coach Allan Bunting.

Black Ferns head coach Allan Bunting. Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz

Allan Bunting has been named as the Black Ferns new coach.

He replaces Wayne Smith who stepped down after the side won last year's World Cup.

Bunting is a former Black Ferns Sevens Coach and Black Ferns Manager of Culture and Leadership.

His official title is Black Ferns Director of Rugby.

He was involved with the Black Ferns Sevens set up for a decade, overseeing their achievements at every international tournament during that period, leading the Chiefs Manawa to an inaugural Super Rugby Aupiki title in 2022, and most recently empowering the growth of the Black Ferns, to assist in achieving their Rugby World Cup victory.

Black Ferns assistant coach Whitney Hansen ruled herself out of contention following the World Cup saying she wasn't ready for the head coaching position.

Bunting said he was grateful and honoured to be appointed as Black Ferns Director of Rugby.

"I feel very honoured and privileged to be in this position. It is such an amazing time to be involved in women's rugby. The opportunities are endless to develop our talent, aspire our future and grow our leaders, which is really exciting."

The continued success of the Black Ferns is top of mind for Bunting.

"As a team, it is important we keep building off the success from last year and create an environment that nurtures, supports and produces thriving people and in turn, a successful game.

"We are blessed with a massive amount of talent in this country and there is an opportunity to identify and support that talent so we can build depth. In turn, that will enhance the professional standards in our team and the Farah Palmer Cup and Super Rugby Aupiki competitions. It's also critical to remember to keep enjoying the journey."

Bunting acknowledged the incredible contribution Wayne Smith has made to the Black Ferns legacy.

New Zealand coach Wayne Smith with the Rugby World Cup winners trophy.

Wayne Smith Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz

"Smithy has been instrumental to this game, but most importantly he gave women's rugby a special gift. Now it's our responsibility as a team, organisation and country to build on that and continue to foster our legacy."

NZR CEO Mark Robinson said Bunting's achievements both on and off the field were remarkable.

"Allan has showed his calibre as a coach with the Black Ferns Sevens, in Super Rugby Aupiki with Chiefs Manawa, and most recently as Black Ferns Manager of Culture and Leadership. He has a proven track record on and off the field and the energy and inclusivity he brings to team environments is impressive."

The Black Ferns will play seven Tests including the Pacific Four Series and Laurie O'Reilly Cup this year.