Veteran NRL coach Brian Smith has welcomed a new challenge in a different code after signing to assist Super Rugby's Brumbies with their defence.

The move by Brumbies coach Jake White to hire Smith for the 2013 season follows his earlier attempt to get the part-time services of Newcastle skipper Danny Buderus which was blocked by the NRL.

Smith was out of work in the NRL after being axed by the Sydney Roosters following last season.

Smith will focus on improving the Brumbies' defence and tackling techniques.


He joins White's other assistants Laurie Fisher (forwards) and Steve Larkham (backs).

"I have only been down for the one session but I'm actually quite excited about the role now,'' Smith told The Australian.

"It is something really different for me - all the players were really receptive and enthusiastic about the work we were doing so that was really encouraging.

"I'm at a point now where I am open to these sorts of opportunities.''

In a two-decade rugby league coaching career, Smith was at the helm at Illawarra, St George, Newcastle, Parramatta and the Roosters, but was unable to win a first-grade premiership.