Wayne Smith says he has turned down coaching roles with teams that could be perceived to hurt his All Blacks legacy.
The All Blacks assistant last night coached in his last game on home soil with the team, set to step down from the coaching set-up at the conclusion of the Rugby Championship.
And while Smith intends to take a break in 2018, he has been fielding job offers and running potential candidates past New Zealand Rugby boss Steve Tew to ensure he remains loyal to the black jersey.
"I'll never do anything that is seen to be disloyal or hurts the All Black legacy here," Smith told Newstalk ZB's Tony Veitch. "As an example, I've been asked to help a couple of teams, but I've always gone back to [NZ Rugby boss] Steve Tew and said, 'Is this a team that would worry you?' And he'll say, 'Yep, no, you couldn't help them'. Or he'll say, 'Yep, you can go and help them because we're trying to develop them'."
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
Smith won't immediately take another coaching role once his 20-year association with the All Blacks comes to a close, and there is a strong chance he will one day again work with NZ Rugby.
"I've got a role if I want it," Smith said. "We'll take a bit of a break - I think 2018, we'll do a bit of travelling, I've got a couple of projects. But I think long-term, I've already sat down and talked to Tewy and Neil Sorensen and Don Tricker - who's the head of high performance - about the future and what that might look like."
In the meantime, Smith was backing colleague Ian Foster to take over from Hansen as All Blacks head coach in 2019.
Hansen signed a contract extension in August to remain in charge until the Rugby World Cup in Japan, with Smith believing Foster was being primed to take the top job.
"I've really come to admire Fozzy's work within the team," Smith said. "He's got a great personality, good connections with the players, so he's got an existing persona of All Blacks coach.
"I like that continuity and I also like the fact there is the ability to bring young coaches back to work with someone like Fozz, and we've got other young coaches in the country that are going to be exceptional."