All Blacks' Smith to step down

by AAP

The All Blacks will lose the services of long-serving and successful assistant coach Wayne Smith after this year's Rugby Championship.

Smith announced on Friday he will take a break from October to consider his future, ending an international coaching involvement which began in 1998.

The 35-match former All Black is regarded as one of the game's smartest minds, helping to oversee World Cup wins in 2011 and 2015 alongside head coaches Sir Graham Henry and Steve Hansen respectively.

Smith, whose most recent brief has been with the All Blacks' defence, said turning 60 last month prompted an assessment of his future.

"It's unbelievable to think that I've been involved in playing and coaching with the All Blacks for 20 years, a third of my life," he said.

"I've had an incredible time and shared in some fantastic experiences.

"But it's time to hang up my coach's whistle for a while, take a bit of a hiatus, freshen up and spend some more time with my wife Trish and our family."