'He'd be a great man to have back in the fold' - Richie McCaw backs Joe Schmidt to lead the All Blacks
Joe Schmidt has received a ringing endorsement from New Zealand's most decorated rugby player as Richie McCaw tipped him to one day coach the All Blacks.
The Ireland supremo's future is currently up for discussion due to his contract expiring in the summer of 2017. He has publicly stated that he will consider whether he will remain in charge after the three-Test summer tour of South Africa in June.
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen is considering whether he would like to lead his country's defence of the World Cup in 2019. His deal also expires in June next year and reports in New Zealand suggest he is more likely to stay on.
If Schmidt has ambitions to coach his country, he would likely have to serve some time in Super Rugby and he may see the expiration of his Ireland deal as the perfect time to return, although family considerations will form a major part of his decision.
"We all watch with a bit of interest all the teams that have the Kiwis involved," McCaw said. "Certainly Joe, with his record and the teams he's been involved with, has been pretty successful.
"The guys who have experienced his coaching before he came here always talked pretty highly of him.
"We nearly suffered from that in 2013 so it doesn't go unnoticed. Down the track a guy like that could come back and coach in New Zealand, maybe the All Blacks one day.
"He's the type of guy who'd be great. The experience he's picked up here would be invaluable.
"There's a few Super Rugby jobs coming, he'd be a great man to have back in the fold. To have a guy like that back in the New Zealand fold would be awesome."
Meanwhile, Donnacha Ryan is in a race to be fit for Munster's crucial clash with Edinburgh after the province confirmed he suffered his second concussion in two games against Connacht.