Scottish coaches benefit from Smith's guidance
TOBY ROBSON IN EDINBURGH
Scotland rugby got a boost from the All Blacks' World Cup-winning assistant coach Wayne Smith in the buildup to this morning's test at Murrayfield.
But All Blacks fans can put away the pitchforks because Smith's visit to Edinburgh and Glasgow had nothing to do with helping the national side.
Smith shared his coaching gospel with Scotland's promising coaches and conducted a series of workshops on game trends and philosophies.
Scotland coach Andy Robinson and his assistant Scott Johnson were among those to attend.
However, New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew said there was no parallel with former All Blacks coach Graham Henry's role in helping Argentina during the Rugby Championship.
"Smithy has been in Argentina and Scotland doing some work in his downtime from his role with the Chiefs. We've known about that. There's no drama. We trust Smithy completely," he said.
"What he is doing at the moment is a one-off. He agreed that with [former All Blacks trainer] Graham Lowe who he knew very well from his time in New Zealand.
"It is a reflection of how highly regarded Wayne is and the skills and the experiences he brings. Smithy has been in high demand for a very long time.
"That's one of the reasons we had to act quickly to make sure he stays in New Zealand for the next four years."
It seems the trend right now for New Zealand's top coaches to extend a helping hand internationally.
Smith and his Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie made a similar trip to Argentina this year to help that country's coaches develop a more attacking mindset.
Some feel the NZRU should do more to protect its intellectual property from international rivals, but Tew did not see it as a major issue.
"We are also comfortable that they can go away and provide assistance to other coaches in the world without giving away our intellectual property that he would consider to be a competitive advantage," Tew said.
"He [Smith] knows he needs to keep all that stuff private for the Chiefs next year.
"We see it as quite different to what Graham [Henry] did with Argentina. Graham didn't catch us unawares, nor did he do his own thing.
"What changed was he got a bit closer to the team than we, and possibly he, had anticipated."