Byrne to leave All Blacks

All Blacks technical coach Mick Byrne is set to leave the New Zealand international rugby environment, it was confirmed by NZRU on Sunday.

As one of the lesser known members of the coaching team during the Graham Henry/Steve Hansen era, Byrne, who joined the side in 2005, was not well known to the general rugby public, but the players all knew him, and benefited from the technical savvy he brought to the game.

Byrne has opted to spend more time with his family in Australia while taking up a new role across a variety of sports.

Originally involved in Australian Rules Football where he played for Melbourne, Hawthorn and Sydney in making 167 appearances, he brought the kicking and catching skills of the game often described as 'aerial ping-pong' to rugby and that has been greatly to the game's advantage in New Zealand.

He was the Wallabies kicking and catching coach in their successful 1999 Rugby World Cup campaign while he was working with the Brumbies from 1998-2001. He was a consultant to the Springboks in 2001-02 before becoming kicking coach for Scotland in 2002. He has also coached in England and Japan and had a stint as an assistant coach with the Blues.

His technical expertise was not only a contributing factor to the All Blacks' twin World Cup successes but also to each of the New Zealand Super Rugby franchises where he worked with kickers.