New Zealand
Wayne Smith's future up in the air
ESPN Staff
July 21, 2014
Wayne Smith could make a return to the All Blacks coaching group ahead of the 2015 World Cup © Getty Images

Considered to be one of the world's best rugby coaches, Chiefs assistant coach Wayne Smith could be contemplating a year off from coaching duties, despite New Zealand Rugby's wish to have him return to the All Blacks coaching group.

Talking to Radio Sport in New Zealand on his return from Canberra, Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie said Smith would be faced with a tough decision between remaining at the Chiefs or returning to the All Blacks in their bid to win back-to-back World Cups in England, but backtracked when he arrived in Hamilton saying the issue had "probably been blown out of proportion".

''Obviously now that we're finished we'll have a chat with Smithy. There's still a bit of acid on him from an All Black point of view,'' Rennie told Fairfax Media on his return. ''I think New Zealand rugby would probably like to get him involved for that World Cup and you can understand why. Ultimately he's committed to New Zealand rugby so he won't be going anywhere, but I guess we [the Chiefs] have to go through some discussions around that.''

Rennie indicated that if Smith returned to the All Blacks coaching group he would be unavailable for the Chiefs next year, saying Smith was the "type of guy who goes into things full on, there are no half measures."

''There's no doubt New Zealand would be keen to get him involved. He's a superb coach. He's been massive for us and obviously we'd love to have him involved with us again, but there's a bit of pressure there I guess.

''He's the type of guy a guy who goes into things full on. There are no half measures with him, so I guess he has to get his head around things and make some decisions around what's best for him and his family, that's key in the end.

''Also he wants to spend a bit more time with the family and he's got his parents down in Putaruru. Now that we're finished there is a chance to sit down and clarify what's important to him. At the end of the day we support whatever decision he makes and it has to be what's best for him and his family.''

Currently contracted to the Chiefs until next year, Smith, 57, told TV3 on his arrival at Auckland Airport that he was under no pressure to return to the All Blacks, while All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen declined to comment on whether Smith had been asked to return to the coaching group.

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