Wayne Smith will rejoin the All Blacks coaching staff ahead of next year’s World Cup as a defence specialist.
Smith, who was an assistant to Graham Henry between 2004 and 2011 and a key member of the coaching combination which won the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand, has been assistant coach of the Chiefs team which has won two Super Rugby titles.
All Black head coach Steve Hansen said Smith is “one of the most astute coaches in the world” and having worked with him in the past he knows just how valuable he is to any team he is involved in.
“Smithy will add another dimension to what is already a strong coaching group in what will be a big year for us,” Hansen said.
Regarded as one of the world’s leading coaches, Smith joins Hansen’s backroom staff that include assistant coach Ian Foster, along with fellow specialist coaches Mike Cron (forwards) and Mick Byrne (skills).
Hansen said they were delighted that Smith had accepted the offer to return to the All Blacks.
“Smithy’s role will be purely around defence, but as we do with all our coaches we will tap into his vast knowledge of other areas of the game.”
Smith said he never thought he would be involved with the All Blacks again, after leaving the team at the end of 2011.
“When I was asked to be involved in the All Blacks again for 2015, it was a case of checking whether I had the support of my family, which I did,” Smith said.
“I also spoke to some of the senior players in the team and everyone was incredibly supportive. I care deeply about the All Blacks, I’m excited to be back and looking forward to getting stuck into next year.”
Smith will be stepping down from an official coaching role with the Chiefs, but will still work from the team’s base and continue to do on-field coaching once a week to keep his coaching hand in.
He will also be working with all five of New Zealand’s Super Rugby teams during the season in his All Blacks capacity.
Chiefs CEO Andrew Flexman said: “Wayne is a highly respected and knowledgeable man. He is an extremely talented coach and mentor so it is easy to see why the All Blacks want him involved in their environment for the 2015 World Cup.
“As a rugby club, the Chiefs are committed to providing as much support as possible to the All Blacks in their quest to win back-to-back World Cups, so we support Wayne 100 percent in his decision to assist the All Blacks and appreciate the massive contribution he has made to the Chiefs.”