Rugby: All-male Black Ferns coaching lineup shines spotlight on lagging support for female coaches

New Zealand Rugby has announced a trio of assistant coaches who will help lead the Black Ferns to the next World Cup, who - despite a new focus on females within the game - are all men.

Many believe this is a wider issue of female coaches not being supported enough by NZ Rugby to reach the next level in their career and the organisation agrees.

Allan Bunting was named director of rugby in February, and he will be assisted by Tony Christie, Steve Jackson, and Mike Delany. The only female is team manager Jenelle Strickland.

NZ Rugby says they picked the best available, and that they're developing the pathways to develop more female coaches.

"Really exciting group, which the players, I know they'll be really excited to have," NZ Rugby women's high performance Hannah Porter said.

"When these roles come up in the future, we'll have a pool of applicants that put their hand up, ready to be part of the campaign going forward." 

Former Wellington player Alice Soper isn't surprised all the Black Ferns assistants are men, but questions why more quality female coaches haven't been developed 

"The ladder that we have been trying to climb up, we've got rungs that are busted, we've got things are slipping and it needs to be built strong so every step we know where we are going next," she said.

Women do hold two of the four Super Rugby Aupiki head coaching roles - for some that's not enough.

"What are we doing to make sure we have 100 percent head coaches in the Farah Palmer Cup developing and leading as they should be?"

Hopefully, in the future, Black Ferns wins will also be triumphs for equality.