24 Jul 2016

Byrne to take up position with ARU

11:54 am on 24 July 2016

The former All Blacks skills coach Mick Byrne is to take up a similar role with the Australian Rugby Union.

Former All Blacks skills coach Mick Byrne with then-forwards coach Steve Hansen back in 2009 at a Tri-Nations game against Australia at Westpac Stadium, Wellington. Photo: Dave Lintott/PHOTOSPORT

Former All Blacks skills coach Mick Byrne with then-forwards coach Steve Hansen back in 2009 Photo: Photosport

Byrne, who left his New Zealand position after last year's World Cup, returns to Australian Rugby having begun his national coaching career with the Wallabies as a kicking coach in 1998.

He then joined other national programs in Scotland, South Africa, and more recently New Zealand, where he was part of three Rugby World Cups campaigns.

In his new role as National Skills Coach, Byrne will have a wider focus on all technical skill components of the game, including and not limited to kicking, lineouts, kick receipts, passing and collision.

ARU General Manager of High Performance Ben Whitaker said: "Mick's appointment is part of the ARU's strategic plan to engage the best staff with expert capabilities to develop key areas across all levels of the sport.

"As National Skills Coach, Mick will be working closely with the Wallabies program and across our Super Rugby teams as well as having an active involvement in developing skills across age grade teams, Sevens and our Wallaroos.

"His success speaks for itself, having played elite sport for many years before transferring those skills to coaching and working across several successful national programs."

At the end of his tenure with New Zealand, he returned home to Brisbane to be closer to his family and became national director of sport at Sportstek Academies, providing post-schooling education and sporting pathways to young aspiring athletes in all sports.

Following the success and establishment of the Sportstek Academies, Byrne was now looking forward to reconnecting to Rugby and a high performance environment.

"The challenge to coach some aspiring athletes this past year has been really rewarding, especially enabling them to develop their skills and progress with their studies. It's something I've really enjoyed.

"Being back in home Australia, and closer to the Rugby community I have seen some great progress in the game, and I'm looking forward to being part of its development alongside some very talented coaches, players and passionate administrators of the game.

"Working in a high performance environment, with similar minded people is something that I missed in time away from professional sport. I am grateful for the opportunity to work alongside people with similar aspirations for the sport here in Australia."

Byrne will officially commence his new role alongside Michael Cheika and the Wallabies in the coming weeks, as players and coaches assemble for a training camp in Sydney before The Rugby Championship squad is announced formally early next month.