Steve Hansen says he doesn't intend to "shoulder tap" a replacement for Wayne Smith.

Smith's vacating of his assistant coaching role after this year's Lions tour and Rugby Championship this morning has raised immediate speculation after who will replace him.

Hansen addressed the issue during a press conference at Auckland Airport to announce the end of 60-year-old Smith's remarkable two decade involvement with the All Blacks.

"We won't shoulder tap anybody - that's not our style," Hansen told reporters.


"We will advertise the job and then do interviews and whoever we appoint will spend some time with us in the Rugby Championship looking over Smith's shoulder.

Hansen was asked if he will use Smith's departure to modify the role.

"It will probably be more simplified than what Wayne is doing now," he said.

"While we call him a defence coach, he has had a big responsibility through the whole team. Initially though I want somebody who will look after defence."

Hansen said he tried hard to convince Smith to remain.

"Today isn't a surprise. I've been twisting his arm for the past six years now.

"I knew eventually I was going to lose that competition.

"The hole will be big, though. The systems he has put in place will lessen that hole. But the man will be missed."

But Smith said he was confident he would not be missed.

"There's another side to this equation....there are some very good young coaches coming through Super Rugby," he said.

"There's going to be a bit of a win there because you have somebody else stepping into a hugely successful era and get a great experience and offer new ideas."