10 Nov 2018

Schmidt a good All Blacks fit, says McCaw

7:25 pm on 10 November 2018

Ireland's Joe Schmidt will be a strong contender to replace fellow New Zealander Steve Hansen when the All Blacks coach steps down, says former captain Richie McCaw.

Richie McCaw

Former All Black captain Richie McCaw. Photo: Supplied

Schmidt has led Ireland for five years and his contract with the Six Nations champions ends after the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

The 53-year-old said he would make a decision on his future at the end of this month's internationals in Europe.

Hansen is also contracted until the Rugby World Cup, where his side will seek an unprecedented third successive title and fourth overall, with speculation growing over who might replace him if he does step down.

"There's no doubt people admire what Joe has done with the Irish team," McCaw, who won a world record 148 Test caps and led the All Blacks to two World Cup titles, told an AIG event in London.

"He's been away for a while but there's no doubt amongst the people who understand rugby he has a very good way of looking at the game.

"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."

The All Blacks face Eddie Jones's England at Twickenham tomorrow and then play Ireland in Dublin next week, with all three teams using the matches to gauge themselves ahead of next year's global showpiece.

Schmidt has been hailed for developing Ireland during his tenure and they are currently the second-ranked side in the world after winning three Six Nations titles under him, even clinching a Grand Slam earlier this year.

He has been working in Europe since 2007, initially as an assistant to fellow New Zealander Vern Cotter at Clermont, before he became head coach at Leinster in 2010 and then took over the Ireland national side three years later.

- Reuters