20 Dec 2015

Kicking guru signs off with All Blacks

5:12 pm on 20 December 2015

The All Blacks' specialist skills coach Mick Byrne has announced he's leaving to take up a sports and education mentoring role with school leavers in Brisbane.

Mick Byrne: Fotosport/David Gibson

Mick Byrne Photo: Photosport

The Australian, who has been with the All Blacks since 2005, helped the team to numerous successes over the years, including the back to back Rugby World Cup wins in 2011 and 2015, three Grand Slams and Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship successes.

The former Australian Rules footballer helped the likes of Dan Carter with kicking.

"Mick 'The Kick' has played a big part in my success," Carter said.

Dan Carter lines up a conversion as Richie McCaw looks on during the All Blacks v Tonga Rugby World Cup 2015 match. St James' Park in Newcastle. UK. Friday 9 October 2015. Copyright Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.Photosport.nz

Dan Carter lines up a conversion against Tonga, at this year's Rugby World Cup. Photo: Photosport

While most teams opted for a kick as a defensive release, Byrne helped New Zealand utilise the kick as an attacking strategy and an aid to opening up space.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen also praised Byrne's contributions.

"Mick has been a major contributor to the All Blacks over many years now," Hansen said.

"He is one of the best in the world at what he does. He will be a hard man to replace but he has a great opportunity going forward and we support his decision and wish him the very, very best."

Byrne's departure is the second change to Hansen's team since the World Cup, with defence coach Wayne Smith taking a year off full-time coaching following the side's success over Australia to lift the trophy at Twickenham.

Former All Blacks skills coach Mick Byrne with then-forwards coach Steve Hansen back in 2009 at a Tri-Nations game against Australia at Westpac Stadium, Wellington. Photo: Dave Lintott/PHOTOSPORT

Former All Blacks skills coach Mick Byrne with then-forwards coach Steve Hansen back in 2009 Photo: Photosport

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