Assistant coach Wayne Smith leaving All Blacks after Rugby Championship

Assistant coach Wayne Smith has announced he'll be stepping down from his role following this year's Rugby Championship.

Speaking to media at a press conference Friday morning, the 60-year-old confirmed he'd be ending his involvement with the side in October.

"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," said Smith.

"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."

Smith has been a part of the team's coaching panel for a total of ten years across three separate stints beginning in 1998, including one year as head coach in the 2000-01 season.

Holding 17 Test caps himself as an All Black, he was a part of the highly-vaunted panel which saw the side through to successive World Cup wins in 2011 and 2015 alongside current head coach Steve Hansen.

Hansen paid tribute to his outgoing cohort for his "outstanding" service to New Zealand rugby over such an extensive period of time.

"He's a man I have a huge amount of respect for and it's been an absolute pleasure working alongside him. However, it's an even greater honour to be able to call him a mate.

"He has an unrelenting passion for the game, he's always been innovative, prepared to speak his mind, and he's never allowed himself to stop learning. He's always been willing to share himself with others and be open to their ideas.

"Smithy has been a major contributor to not only New Zealand Rugby but also world rugby. Wayne has been such a wonderful ambassador for our game and our country as well.

"It's with sadness that we let him go, but it's also with the confidence of knowing that he has left an everlasting legacy which is all one can expect of an All Black man.

"Smithy is undoubtedly a true All Black legend."

New Zealand Rugby will advertise for a replacement for Smith's role, with the aim of having the new coach join the All Blacks ahead of the Rugby Championship starting in August.

Newshub.