New Zealand Rugby has confirmed that respected coach Wayne Smith has re-signed with the All Blacks for a further two years.
Smith has been a part of the All Blacks since 1998. Last year he re-joined the squad, focusing on defence and turnover attack.
He will continue specialising in those areas and also take on a new role working on skills coaching with assistant coach Ian Foster.
Smith said he initially decided to take a break following last year's success at the Rugby World Cup, however discussions with head coach Steven Hansen convinced him to continue with the team.
"Steve presented a pretty compelling case, especially with the team facing the challenge of rebuilding and continuing its growth this year. It was a huge campaign last year and I was ready for a break, but I realised that it would be an exciting time to still to be involved. I love this team and want to do everything I can to help them succeed. It's going to be a big year and I'm looking forward to it," Smith says.
Steven Hansen is ecstatic that Smith is making the return to the team.
"It goes without saying that I'm over the moon to have 'Smithy' recommit to the All Blacks. He's rightly recognised as one of the world's best coaches. What he brings to the table is invaluable to the All Blacks, and he's highly respected by everyone in our group and throughout the world," Hansen says.