Rugby was always going to be in Wayne Smith's world but when his admirable playing days were done, it took him a while to sort out how to channel that passion.

Once Smith moved away from provincial rugby management in Hawkes Bay to begin coaching, his teaching and guiding talents left a strong mark across all levels of the game in New Zealand.

It was much the same when he played. A slender five eighths playing at about 80kgs, Smith took time to persuade selectors he was robust and skilled enough to cut it at the top level.

There were times when his frame succumbed to the physical confrontations but Smith's perseverance and technical expertise always interested the selectors. Hard work and a strongly humble attitude helped push him into the All Blacks gaze.


Smith was always analyzing his play and learnt the importance of routine and building his rugby strategies.

As he worked on sharpening his skills and tactical appraisal, his confidence grew as the backline leader through Canterbury's 82-85 Ranfurly Shield era. His shrewd running and pinpoint up and unders made life difficult for defendersand he carried that work into the All Blacks.

His strongest production came against the Lions in '83, on the end of year tour to the UK then the '84 test series against the Wallabies as the All Blacks grabbed the Bledisloe Cup and Smith was named by the NZ Rugby Almanack as one of the players of the season.

Date of birth: 19 April 1957
Position: First five-eighth
Matches: 35
Tests: 17
Test debut: 21 June 1980 v Australia, Sydney
Last test: 2 November 1985 v Argentina, Buenos Aires
Province: Canterbury
Test tries: 0
Test points: 6