Former New Zealand coach Wayne Smith has revealed that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year, and that he will undertake a mentoring role with Italy following an operation to remove the affected gland.
Smith ended a 20‑year association with the All Blacks at the end of The Rugby Championship last October.
However, he explained that he was aware of his illness throughout that farewell tournament after an MRI scan "showed up some tumours".
Last Wednesday there was more exciting news.
His surgeon Michael Holmes rang from Hamilton to say the pathology report on the prostate had been completed, and it indicated that, most probably, Smith had been cured.
There was no sign of any cells being left behind.
The discovery he had cancer played no role in Smith's decision to step down from the All Black coaching team.
Smith says leaving the All Blacks was decided at the end of 2016, but having prostate cancer did clarify that he made the right decision.
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