Smith hails Munster passion in hint at post-World Cup move
ALL BLACKS star Conrad Smith says he would be interested in joining Munster if he decides to pursue his career in Europe after next year's World Cup.
Rated as one of the finest centres in the world game, Smith is happy playing in New Zealand for the time being but, having experienced the Thomond Park atmosphere when Munster ran the All Blacks to 16-18 in 2008, he says the Irish province are the type of team that would bring the best out of him.
"I wouldn't rule it out," said Smith, who has played for the All Blacks with Munster duo Doug Howlett and Sam Tuitupou.
"I got a taste of Munster when we came over the last time and I was impressed; the passion they have for rugby is pretty strong, it was cool. I'm a player that is fuelled by passion. I'm not particularly big or fast, I need to really believe in who I'm playing for.
"I need to play where I'm passionate about and I grew up wanting to play for the Hurricanes and the All Blacks and I feel that if I played for a random team over there (Europe) the same drive wouldn't be there. For now, I'm happy playing in New Zealand but it is pretty appealing."
Munster take on Australia in Thomond Park tonight, with Howlett and Tuitupou both included in a side captained by James Coughlan. The No 8 is seeking to emulate Dolphin club-mate Terry Kingston, who led Munster to victory over the then world champion Australians at Musgrave Park in 1992.
Meanwhile, Ireland's preparations for next Saturday's Test with Smith's All Blacks suffered a setback yesterday when Munster second-row Donnacha Ryan was cited for an alleged stamp during Saturday's 20-10 victory over Samoa at Lansdowne Road.
Ryan will appear before an independent Six Nations disciplinary committee in London today, as will Ti'i Paulo, the Samoan hooker cited for two alleged dangerous tackles in last week's defeat to Connacht.