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09th Nov 2018

Richie McCaw thinks Joe Schmidt would love a crack at All Blacks job

Jack O'Toole

Former New Zealand Rugby captain Richie McCaw believes that Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt would love to give the All Blacks job a crack should he be considered for the role after next year’s Rugby World Cup.

New Zealand Rugby chief Steve Tew has previously said that Schmidt is among the names that the NZR is considering to succeed current coach Steve Hansen with the former Leinster boss’ contract with the IRFU set to expire after next year’s Rugby World Cup.

The union said last month that they would have a much better idea of Schmidt’s intentions after the November internationals but McCaw thinks that the native New Zealander may be tempted to return home next year.

“There’s no doubt that people admire what Joe has done with the Irish team,” said McCaw.

“There’s no doubt he’s a good coach and at some point it would be great to see him come back to use all that experience and knowledge that he’s got and picked up over the years to offer it to New Zealand.

“Whether he comes back as a Super Rugby coach first or straight back in as the All Blacks coach I guess time will tell but there’s no doubt he’s done a pretty good job with Ireland.

“I think he’s a Kiwi at heart and he’d probably love the opportunity to give it a crack.”

After guiding Ireland to three Six Nations titles in the last five years and winning Ireland’s first Grand Slam since 2009, Schmidt will be favoured to land the job but McCaw insists that there are no shortage of candidates to take over the reins of the two-time defending world champions regardless of what Schmidt ultimately decides to do.

“If Steve steps down, which people say he might, but if he does, but of all the names you can think you think of guys like Scott Robertson who went back-to-back with the Crusaders, even John Plumtree who has coached a lot with the South African Super Rugby before going back to the Hurricanes.

“You got a guy like Jamie Joseph who coached a lot with the Highlanders and was successful there and then went to coach Japan. You got Joe Schmidt, Warren Gatland, all of those guys that potentially could be eligible. Imagine if they all put their name in the hat then you’re in pretty good shape to get the next one.

“Then you got a guy like Ian Foster, a current All Black coach, and he might put his name in the hat too so you’d have some hard work trying to decipher who is right for the job but it’s a great position to be in by the time he has had enough so we’re pretty luck to have such good people available.”

IRFU CEO Philip Browne said that the union hopes to keep Schmidt within Irish Rugby after the World Cup but that they are prepared for life without the New Zealander.

“He’s done a fantastic job and it’s not just about Joe, it’s about the people he has gathered around him,” said Browne at the launch of the IRFU’s strategic plan last month.

“It is a collective and Joe is an important part of that collective and he’s done a fantastic job.

“At the end of the day David [Nucifora, performance director] is having conversations with Joe but it’s Joe who will make up his mind.

“The reality is nobody can be indispensable. Having said that, it would be good if Joe stays. Equally, if he goes we have to deal with it.

“The best way of dealing with it is by making sure we have a set of systems and processes in place that are effectively robust.

“We can’t be dependent on one individual. Anyone can get run over by a bus and you have to move on.”

AIG Ambassador, Richie McCaw was speaking ahead of the All Blacks visit to Ireland. The All Blacks will take on Ireland in Dublin on Saturday 17th November 2018. AIG is proud sponsor of the New Zealand All Blacks.

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