Newcastle Knights rugby league coach Nathan Brown is the latest to benefit from being immersed with the All Blacks as they prepare for their test against the Springboks.

The All Blacks often invite leading coaches to observe the way they do things in the hope that they themselves can gain knowledge in return and this week it's Brown's turn.

In the past, former Manchester United player and Ireland coach Roy Keane, New South Wales rugby league coach Laurie Daley, former Kiwis coach David Kidwell and Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy have observed the All Blacks.

"They were keen to come and it's interesting to see what they see and then you have some conversations about the similarities and differences," All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster said. "If there's one little gold nugget there for us at the end of the week, that'll be really good for us."


"It's just part of us being exposed to different ideas and a different set of eyes and we don't really know what's going to come out of it," said Foster of the visits.

"When someone comes in who doesn't really know how you operate, and they have a look at you, then it's interesting how they see the things that we do.

"Because sometimes the message we think we're trying to give, someone else might see and hear them slightly differently. It's just a different set of eyes. It's good and it's good to just keep prodding us."

Head coach Steve Hansen has gone on learning missions himself, most notably with the United States Marine Corps last year.

Hansen and All Blacks mental skills coach Gilbert Enoka visited various US institutions, including the world famous West Point Military Academy observing leadership strategies ahead of the British and Irish Lions tour.

"We had the opportunity to visit the naval academy and marine corp at West Point in the States," Hansen told the Herald last year. "We went up for a few days and had an incredible learning experience and shared some of our stuff as well. We are very thankful for what the departments we visited us gave us.

"We are fortunate that we have a really strong brand which is able to possibly open doors for us that maybe aren't open for other people. We would be foolish if we didn't take these opportunities."