The online home of Women's Rugby

Moore's departure offers reset chance

Glenn Moore’s resignation was inevitable and gives the Black Ferns an opportunity at a much-needed reset.

At the end of its bumpiest week, New Zealand are left without a head coach less than six months out from their home World Cup.

Though this is clearly far from ideal, Moore’s position had become untenable, as the man who was the catalyst for the review itself and the tactician of New Zealand’s ill-fated tour Northern tour last year.  

Two significant changes have taken place since then. The team has gone professional and the coaching expertise around them has been improved, with people like Wayne Smith coming on board to support the players through to the World Cup.

It was obvious when last week’s review emerged that New Zealand Rugby felt losing Moore, despite the scathing findings the report laid bare, was a disruption too far for a team already with a mountain to climb to catch up with England and France.

His unplanned departure presents a headache therefore, but also an opportunity.

The team can first of all start to move on from the instability of recent months with the review no longer hanging over their heads and with fresh faces presenting a chance for the environment to feel like a new start.

A new head coach also has the advantage of knowing exactly what has been lacking, with the review recommendations set out on front of them like a more than handy tick box list of what to address immediately.

And as with any new coach, there’ll also be a clamour from players to impress just that little bit more with the possibility that this presents a galvanising moment for New Zealand to push on and make the extra improvements so desperately needed if they’re to retain the World Cup.

As Ireland coach Greg McWilliams noted recently when discussing his side’s defeat to Wales, it is more than possible in women’s rugby to close performance gaps quickly given the ceiling without the necessary resources is so low.  

With a better environment, fresh start-feel and increased motivation it is not ridiculous to say that if anyone can bridge the gap so obvious last year, it is New Zealand even if you watched those games and winced at how far the team had fallen.

But it would be remiss to pretend Moore’s departure significantly shortens New Zealand’s odds.

Their main rivals England and France have significantly more advantages than them. Better investment, more playing time, and crucially, extremely settled coaching and management teams to name just a few. They are in refining mode which is an infinitely better place to be when the plane ride to the World Cup is just months away.

Smarter people than me will also tell you that changing a coach just months out from a World Cup is the reddest of high-performance red flags. Moore will have been driving the team’s culture, strategy, tactics and technical direction.

Even by the fact of their 'newness' a new coach will likely upend all of that and even if it’s for the better, that’s an awful lot for a team to take on and adapt to in such a short time.

But if anyone can, the Black Ferns can. It will be a fascinating watch.