Joe Schmidt loss would be blow for Ireland but we can bounce back - Conor Murray
Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray has admitted Ireland could "take a hit" should Joe Schmidt decide to return to New Zealand and reject the IRFU's offer of a contract extension until the next World Cup in 2019.
However, the scrum-half is adamant that there remains enough residual experience within the squad for Ireland to remain on an upward curve should the Kiwi decide in the next few weeks to commit to a return to his native land.
"It's professional sport," said Murray. "People come and go, players, staff, rugby coaches, physios and doctors. It's part and parcel of sport.
"He knows that we would like him to stay. He's a smart guy. He knows how valuable he is to us.
"Joe was brilliant for me personally and for Ireland he has been unbelievable in terms of the success that he has brought.
"He got us believing that we were good enough to beat anyone and I don't really think we ever truly believed that before.
"So if you ask me if I'd like him to stay, I'd say yeah. He's been brilliant. He brings success, he breeds success. He's a winner and he wants to keep winning.
"When you have a system you don't want to change it. But we've learned an awful lot that we can maintain if Joe does go. We can keep moving forward.
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"If he did leave, you may take a hit for a while depending on who comes in, and their brand of rugby and style of play but I would hope we could continue on an upward curve.
"We're just reading about it, you can't stay away from social media. People ask you on the street. There's no staying away from it.
"As players, Joe is our coach at the moment. We're looking forward to camp in the middle of August. And we expect Joe to be there and kick on as we look forward to a massive November series. As a player, that's our mindset but you're always aware that things could change."