Sportal.co.nz 12.Jul.2013Getty Images
The Queensland Reds director of rugby was unveiled as the new Australia coach on Tuesday just hours after New Zealander Robbie Deans announced he had stepped down - effectively before he was pushed.
Deans' fate was sealed even before the British and Irish Lions tour, which the Wallabies lost 2-1, with Australian Rugby Union boss Bill Pulver revealing the interviews for the position had taken place two weeks ago.
McKenzie's first game in charge will be the Bledisloe Cup game against the All Blacks in Sydney on August 17 before the return clash in Wellington a week later.
The All Blacks enjoyed good success against the Wallabies in the Deans era, losing just three of 18 Test matches.
The first of those losses was Deans' first game against his home nation and Smith says the All Blacks will need to be prepared for a similar challenge next month too.
"Generally when there's a change of coach under those sorts of circumstances it normally brings a team together and makes them have a bit more fire in the belly," he said.
"They will be tough and obviously starting over there will make the job for us even harder."
Smith also expects to see a better brand of rugby from the Wallabies whose back line struggled to score tries under Deans.
McKenzie has had the Reds playing with plenty of width and attacking flair since he took over in 2010 with Will Genia and Quade Cooper the key figures in their 2011 Investec Super Rugby title-winning season.
"The style (McKenzie) showed with the Reds, it might affect the way the Wallabies play which I think will be a good thing," said Smith. "It will be a big challenge for the All Blacks."
Asked whether he expected to see the Tokoroa-born Cooper back in the Wallabies No.10 jersey after being on the outer with Deans since last September's 'toxic' comments, Smith laughed and said: "I don't know but it's (McKenzie's appointment) probably increased his chances though. I think that's fair to say."