New Zealand Rugby
Byrne re-joins All Blacks' coaching team
July 29, 2012
Mick Byrne has returned to the All Blacks' coaching team ahead of the forthcoming Rugby Championship © Getty Images
New Zealand have bolstered their coaching team ahead of the forthcoming Rugby Championship with the re-appointment of Mick Byrne as their specialist skills coach.
The Australian, a former Aussie Rules Footballer, served under previous coach Graham Henry in the same position and was linked with a possible promotion to the role of assistant to current boss Steve Hansen following his appointment last year. An expert in kicking and catching, he has also served as Japan's forwards coach and more recently he has been linked with a coaching role with Auckland-based Super Rugby side the Blues.
"As we all know, Mick has a unique skill set which is invaluable so we are delighted to have him back in the team," commented Hansen.
The confirmation of Byrne's return to the All Blacks' ranks came alongside the naming of a 28-man group, minus the Chiefs players that will contest the Super Rugby Final on Saturday, that will attend a training camp in Wellington this week ahead of the announcement of the squad that will contest the forthcoming Rugby Championship on August 5.
Hansen said the camp would provide valuable preparation time ahead of the first staging of the expanded southern hemisphere championship. "It will allow us to reflect on our last performances and begin the process of getting ready for the Rugby Championship," he said. "We will mainly be looking to re-establish the way we do things in the All Blacks, and it'll also give those players who haven't played much rugby recently, the chance for a good hit-out."
Hansen added that Hurricanes hooker Dane Coles had been included in the wider training group as part of the All Blacks' on-going search for new talent. "We already know a lot about Keven Mealamu, Andrew Hore, Corey Flynn and Hika Elliot and now it's Dane Coles' chance to come into the All Blacks environment and gives us the opportunity to see him at closer quarters."
The players attending the Wellington wider training group camp are as follows:
Blues: Charlie Faumuina, Keven Mealamu, Ma'a Nonu, Piri Weepu, Ali Williams and Tony Woodcock.
Hurricanes: Beauden Barrett, Dane Coles, Cory Jane, Julian Savea, Conrad Smith and Victor Vito.
Crusaders: Daniel Carter, Wyatt Crockett, Israel Dagg, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Zac Guildford, Richie McCaw, Kieran Read, Luke Romano and Samuel Whitelock.
Highlanders: Tamati Ellison, Hosea Gear, Andrew Hore, Aaron Smith, Ben Smith and Adam Thomson.
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