Rugby: Former All Blacks coach Wayne Smith to join Black Ferns staff for World Cup defence

The Black Ferns will bring in one of New Zealand's best rugby brains to help oversee their path to this year's World Cup.

Newshub can reveal former All Blacks mastermind Wayne Smith will be added to the coaching set up, alongside head coach Glenn Moore, to help steer the NZ women through to this year's tournament on home soil.

Nicknamed 'The Professor', Smith, 64, was All Blacks assistant coach under both Sir Graham Henry and Sir Steve Hansen, and is widely regarded as one of the best rugby brains in the country and a major influence on back-to-back World Cup victories.

Smith's experience and expertise is exactly the sort of influence the Black Ferns will relish in their camp, especially after four disappointing performances against England and France on their northern tour last year.

A review into that campaign - along with the team's culture and actions of Moore - is currently being finalised, with its release expected within the next fortnight. 

Newshub understands Moore will keep his job through the World Cup, although a formal offer is yet to be accepted, but Smith's addition can already be chalked up as a major win for the Black Ferns. 

The former All Blacks first-five has spent 17 years coaching in New Zealand at both domestic and international levels, starting with the Crusaders in 1997. He was appointed to the All Blacks' top job in 1999, but only lasted two years, before standing down.

Sir Graham Henry brought him back as an assistant coach in 2004 and seven years later, he helped oversee the All Blacks' first World Cup victory in 24 years. 

Smith then moved to the Chiefs to assist Dave Rennie for three years, before helping the All Blacks to their successful 2015 World Cup defence.

In 2018, he moved to Japan and became director of rugby at Kobelco Steelers.

Smith is expected to be officially unveiled by the Black Ferns and NZ Rugby within the next fortnight.