Highlanders defence guru joins All Blacks

Scott McLeod (Gallo Images)
Scott McLeod (Gallo Images)

Auckland - Highlanders assistant coach and former All Blacks centre Scott McLeod was named on Saturday as the All Blacks' new defence coach.

He takes over from assistant coach Wayne Smith who announced last month he was leaving the world champions, saying he needed to "take a break" from the game.

McLeod, who played 10 Tests in the mid-1990s, has signed on as defence coach through to the 2019 World Cup.

He will join the All Blacks for the Rugby Championship series but does not officially start his role until the end of year Northern Hemisphere tour.

Head coach Steve Hansen said he had been impressed with what McLeod had done with the Highlanders, one of the best defensive teams in Super Rugby that also beat the British and Irish Lions.

"Internally there were a couple of real obvious candidates and it was nice that Scott applied and he interviewed really well particularly in the areas we are keen on.

"He is following someone who has done a magnificent job but he doesn't want to be Smithy, he wants to be Scott McLeod and that is massively important.

"You have to come in and be your own person and do it how you want to do it and all the structures that Smithy has set up (McLeod) is familiar with because they talk a lot on the phone and he clearly displayed in the interview that he has his own ideas as well."

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