Allan Bunting is take over from Wayne Smith as Director of Rugby for the Black Ferns.
Bunting was involved in the Black Ferns World Cup win, when he came in as a Manager of Culture and Leadership, after a turbulent 2021.
He was also involved with the Black Ferns Sevens team for a decade, overseeing their achievements at every international tournament and leading the Chiefs Manawa to an inaugural Sky Super Rugby Aupiki title in 2022.
“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," he said.
“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 Sky 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.
“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.
“We know he is excited to continue building the team and maintaining the momentum from last year. We’re pleased to confirm the Black Ferns will play seven Tests against quality opponents, including the Pacific Four Series and Laurie O’Reilly Cup. The details of these fixtures are in the final stages and will be announced in the coming weeks.“
The appointment has been widely welcomed in New Zealand, with Kiwi writer Alice Soper writing that his hiring to the top job now sends a clear message of where the focus will be for the fifteens programme.
"It’s one that will be welcomed by players and fans alike who have not yet forgotten the pain and promise of last year’s Black Ferns review," she said.