Former All Blacks skills coach Mick Byrne joins Wallabies

All Blacks Richie McCaw, Brodie Retallick and Mick Byrne (left) during an All Blacks training at Trusts Stadium. Photo / Nick Reed.
All Blacks Richie McCaw, Brodie Retallick and Mick Byrne (left) during an All Blacks training at Trusts Stadium. Photo / Nick Reed.

Former All Blacks skills coach Mick Byrne has been snapped up by the Wallabies just months after leaving New Zealand, in what's been hailed a coup for the Australian Rugby Union.

Byrne helped the All Blacks to back-to-back Rugby World Cup wins before announcing in December that he was moving back to his homeland of Australia.

Overnight, he confirmed to the Daily Telegraph that he's taken on a role as ARU skills coach, and will begin training with the Wallabies this coming week.

The four-year deal will also see him responsible for developing and running skills programs for every level of elite Australian rugby, from junior rep teams through to each Super Rugby franchise.

Byrne said it was an "exciting challenge" to work alongside Australian coach Michael Cheika.

​His first Wallabies clash with the All Blacks will come on August 20, and Byrne admitted it "will be unusual, no doubt about that".

"I have just got to make sure when I walk out of the change rooms I turn the right way," he told the Daily Telegraph.

He expected his switch to the green and gold team would ruffle a few feathers in New Zealand, but joked: "Tongue-in-cheek, I have always been an Aussie over there."

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