Wayne Smith on:
The All Blacks' rivals
“I was pretty impressed with the Springboks in the second Test against England, in the first half. They had real attention to detail in their attacking ball … they've still got a bit of work to do in the way that they use that ball, but they are certainly very good at the speed of ball, their ball retention. So if they can reach those levels and maybe vary their game a bit more, they'll be dangerous.”
The Australian conference
“We've [New Zealand] got strong club competitions, we've got ITM Cup teams that are in training, we've got academies. They haven't even got a club competition running in the early part of Super Rugby, so it must be a bit hit and miss trying to select replacement players. All that, I think, has had an effect on depth. That'll come right. There's no doubt that that'll come right over time, but at the moment you'd say that having three teams in the bottom five doesn't really reflect well on that Australian conference, does it?”
Turning down a job with England
“One thing that made a wee bit of difference for me was that Roy Keane had come over in 2008 to spend a week with the All Blacks as part of his coaching course. He told the story of when he went to Celtic, and they were paying him a lot more than Sir Alex [Ferguson] was prepared to pay him, so effectively he went for money. And he went up there but he said as soon as he pulled the shirt over his head he knew that it wasn't a United shirt. And he said, 'Be very clear – if you're going overseas, be very clear that it won't be the All Blacks jersey and you've got to be really certain that you want to go for the money'.”
Sonny Bill Williams
“Not every team has got a Sonny Bill. In fact no one has got a Sonny Bill. It's a package there that's probably unique. He's as big as a big 6 and 8, and [has the] skills of a 10, apart from his kicking skills, and I don't think he'd mind me saying that. He's definitely got the eyes, the understanding of a 10; he makes a lot of our [Chiefs'] calls.”
The No.9 to No.12 attacking ball
“You've just got to be careful in rugby that your unpredictability doesn't become predictable, so that your ability to run the ball doesn't become a weakness. You still need to vary your game so that you're creating patterns that you want to see. If you become too 9-12 oriented to set up fast ball, sooner or later it's going to become a weakness rather than a strength."
“The great thing about rugby is that you always have a choice about how you want to play. And some of that [kicking away possession], I call it rugby tennis. I think that probably reflected some of the strict rulings at the start [of Super Rugby], being penalised at the breakdown as an attacking team. But as that improved I think there was much more reward for using the ball rather than giving it away. We [Chiefs] never changed from that philosophy at all."
“Raw stats don't tell you a lot about the game, I don't think. So, for example, knowing that a player makes 10 tackles, that doesn't tell you how effective he was. It might tell you a wee bit about work rate but it certainly doesn't tell you about effectiveness. To determine how effective they've been, you need to weight them ... did he get past the gain line, the speed of the ball from his tackle, did they get an offload away. All of those sorts of things, they determine whether they are effective or not."