Former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw believes Ireland coach Joe Schmidt is the perfect man to succeed Steve Hansen as coach of the New Zealand rugby side.
Schmidt has been plying his trade in the Northern Hemisphere since 2007, when he became assistant coach of Clermont. In 2010, he became head coach of Leinster and then took over the Irish side in 2013.
When Schmidt took the reins, Ireland were ranked ninth in the world and now they’re currently second, after completing their third Six Nations Grand Slam, which they previously achieved in 1948 and 2009.
He was also in charge when Ireland claimed their only win over the All Blacks, winning 40-29 in Chicago two years ago.
New Zealand Rugby (NZR) chief Steve Tew has previously indicated that Schmidt was among the names that the NZR was considering to succeed current coach Steve Hansen, when his contract expires after next year’s Rugby World Cup.
McCaw feels NZR would be silly not to do everything in their power to bring Joe Schmidt home after that tournament.
“There’s no doubt that people admire what Joe has done with the Irish team,” McCaw said at an AIG sponsor event.
“He’s been away for a while, but there’s no doubt amongst the people who understand rugby that he has a very good way of looking at the game.
“I think everybody sits there hoping one day he’ll come back and put himself back in the mix in New Zealand, and we get the benefit of all the experience he’s had at an international level and obviously quite a few years successfully at club level as well.
“From Ireland’s point of view, you want to try and lock him [Schmidt] in and from New Zealand’s point of view, if Steve doesn’t continue, they’re going to want all the options on the table.
“It will be hard for Joe, because he wants to concentrate on doing a good job for the next 12 months, but if he wants to put his name in the hat, it will be pretty good to have a coach like that looking around.”
McCaw also named Scott Robertson, John Plumtree and Jamie Joseph as potential successors to Hansen.
Schmidt is expected to make a decision on his future at the culmination of the November internationals, while Hansen is yet to comment on his next move after the 2019 World Cup.