All Blacks legend Wayne Smith reveals shock cancer diagnosis

Former All Blacks coach Wayne Smith has opened about his cancer diagnosis last year. 

Through the Rugby Championship I knew I had it, but I didn't really talk to anyone - Wayne Smith

Smith stepped down from New Zealand's coaching team at the end of the Rugby Championship in September. 

And last month he did not attend the New Zealand Rugby Awards to accept the Steinlager Salver for exceptional service to the game. 

Three days earlier, on December 11, Smith had his prostate removed after cancer tumours were found. 

He told Fairfax that last Wednesday he had some good news. The pathology report on the prostate was complete, and indicated that, most probably, Smith was cured. 

Wayne Smith. All Blacks training session at Eden Park ahead of this weekend's Bledisloe Cup test match. Auckland, New Zealand. Thursday 20 October 2016. © Copyright Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.Photosport.nz
All Blacks assistant coach Wayne Smith. Source: Photosport

Smith has decided to speak publicly about his experience with prostate cancer because it "might encourage guys in their 50s to go and get the tests."

Since he turned 50 Smith told Fairfax he's been seeing a doctor for his annual medical check-up, and last year the doctor started doing PSA tests. 

PSA or Prostate Specific Antigen is a protein produced by the prostate and changing levels can be a sign of cancer cells.

"It was high PSA levels that initially alerted the doctor," he told Fairfax.

"High levels don't automatically mean you've got cancer, but it is an alert and it led me to getting a digital exam."

Results from an MRI test showed he had tumours. 

"Through the Rugby Championship I knew I had it, but I didn't really talk to anyone (inside the All Blacks). The only one was the team doctor, Tony Page, and I didn't even tell him."

"I just said I was struggling to sleep and he gave me some great advice: 'Just think about the past, not the future, then your mind won't be too active.'"

Smith will retire after almost two decades of rugby with the All Blacks. Source: 1 NEWS

Smith's cancer diagnosis played no role in his decision to step down from the All Black coaching team.

The defence coach was proud of his team after the 57-0 win over South Africa.
Source: 1 NEWS


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Former All Blacks coach John Hart appointed one of three NZR representatives on Blues Board

Former All Blacks coach John Hart has been appointed by New Zealand Rugby to the Blues' board.

Hart, along with current NZR Board member Richard Dellabarca and current NZR Rugby Committee member Sam Lotu-Iiga have all been assigned to the board after it was announced last month that NZR had taken a 40 per cent partnership in the Super Rugby club.

NZR boss Steve Tew said it was important that the governing body's representatives on the Blues Board had proven experience in rugby, business and strong connections to the Auckland region.

"We are pleased that John, Richard and Sam are available to represent New Zealand Rugby's partnership interest in the Blues Super Rugby club.

"Their collective skills will extend the existing depth of experience of the Blues Board and in combination with other recent changes to the coaching team and re-signing and recruitment of key players, this is one of many steps to help rebuild the success of the club."

Hart coached the All Blacks between 1996 and 1999, guiding the team to 31 wins in 41 Tests before resigning after the unexpected 1999 World Cup semi-final loss to France.

He also coached Auckland to the NPC title in 1982, 1984 and 1985.

Jonah Lomu will be farewelled at a special ceremony held at Mt Eden park today.
Source: 1 NEWS


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Jamie Joseph stepping down as Sunwolves coach to focus on Japan's RWC campaign

The Sunwolves will have a fourth head coach in four seasons of Super Rugby after Jamie Joseph announced he'll stand aside in 2019.

Japan national coach Joseph will instead concentrate on preparing the Brave Blossoms for next year's World Cup, which they will host.

He will play a part in appointing next year's Sunwolves coaching staff.

Tony Brown will be favoured to be promoted from assistant coach to head coach, potentially mirroring the same transition that took place at New Zealand's Highlanders in 2017.

Joseph revealed the change at a news conference in Tokyo before the launch of events to celebrate one year to go to the World Cup.

The 48-year-old New Zealander succeeded Filo Tiatia as head coach this year and failed to prevent the Sunwolves picking up the wooden spoon for the second time in their three-year existence.

They also finished last in their inaugural 2016 campaign under Mark Hammett.

The Sunwolves, who have won six of 46 games, look set to struggle again next year.

Josephy revealed a number of his Japanese international players on the Sunwolves roster will sit out the opening rounds of Super Rugby to ensure they are peaking for the World Cup.

Former Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph. Source: Photosport


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World Rugby urges players to cover tattoos at Japan 2019 to 'respect the culture' and avoid offence

World Rugby organisers have advised players competing at the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup, as well as supporters, to cover up any tattoos in public to avoid causing offence, with markings easily mistaken to be associated with Yakuza, a Japanese mafia.

There is also an education programme put in place by the organisers, which gives information about appropriate footwear to wear indoor and outdoors.

Head of the Rugby World Cup Alan Gilpin says the Japanese people will be aware that there will be players not accustomed to Japan's culture.

"We will make (Japanese) people aware around the facilities that players will use in the country that people with tattoos in a Rugby World Cup context are not part of the Yakuza, the Japanese mafia," said Gilpin.

"That's where the issue comes from. We have done a lot in the last year or so with the teams to get them to understand that.

"When we raised it with the teams a year or so ago we were probably expecting a frustrated reaction from them but there hasn't been at all. That is a great tribute to the sport itself and to the rugby players themselves."

Gilpin also said players with tattoos are expected to cover up by wearing a vest when swimming in a public pool.

"They all also buy into the idea of putting on a rash-vest in the pool or in a gym as they want to respect the Japanese culture. If they are using a public pool they will have to cover up.

"Players will also have to wear different trainers indoors and outdoors. It will all be self-policing. We won't force any teams to cover up but they will want to because they want to be seen to be respecting the culture.

"Whether it is Scotland, Ireland, Wales or Italy, who have all been there recently, they all get it, they really do."

Beauden Barrett celebrates his try with Aaron Smith.
2nd Bledisloe Cup Test of the 2018 Investec Rugby Championship.
New Zealand All Blacks v Australia (Wallabies) at Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand on 25 August 2018.
Copyright photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz
Beauden Barrett celebrates with Aaron Smith. Source: Photosport

The Rugby World Cup begins on September 20 in 2019 with the opening match to be played between the host nation Japan and Russia at Tokyo Stadium.

Dejected All Blacks Rieko Ioane and TJ Perenara seen after their team's loss during the 2018 Rugby Championship between All Blacks vs South Africa at Westpac Stadium in Wellington, Saturday 15th September 2018. Copyright Photo: Raghavan Venugopal / © www.Photosport.nz 2018
Dejected All Blacks Rieko Ioane and TJ Perenara seen after their team's loss during the 2018 Rugby Championship between All Blacks vs South Africa at Westpac Stadium in Wellington. Source: Photosport


Man who beat pensioner to death soon after release from mental health unit jailed at least 13 years

A man who stomped a pensioner to death shortly after being discharged from Auckland City Hospital's mental health unit has been sentenced to life in prison with a minimum non-parole period of 13 years.

Gabriel Yad-Elohim appeared at the High Court in Auckland today for sentencing for the murder of 69-year-old Michael Mulholland.

Mr Mulholland's daughter told the court that the pain of losing her father was immense.

She said her father was just an old man who enjoyed collecting National Geographic magazines and reading. He treasured gifts and letters from his children like diamonds.

Yad-Elohim had been out of Auckland City Hospital's Te Whetu Tawera for only three days when he killed Mr Mulholland in September last year.

His lawyers argued he had a disease of the mind, was hearing voices at the time and had no way of telling right from wrong.

The Crown said despite having schizophrenia, he knew right from wrong and killed Mr Mulholland for revenge after losing $200 in a methamphetamine deal.

rnz.co.nz

Gabriel Yad-Elohim at the High Court in Auckland today. (Claire Eastham-Farrelly) Source: rnz.co.nz