Former All Black Conrad Smith has confirmed he will be hanging up his boots at the end of the season.
The 36-year-old centre has been plying his trade with Top 14 side Pau since retiring from international rugby in 2015, and will finish up his playing days in May at the close of the Top 14 season.
Smith, who played 94 Tests for the All Blacks and 126 games for the Hurricanes, has begun to consider his post-rugby options.
“I’m going to finish up this year and I think I will spend a year or two either doing a little bit of work with International Rugby Players, but also within rugby itself and the coaching set-up and see what I like,” Smith told Irish website The42.
Smith, who is considering a move into coaching, also said he rates Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt as a potential candidate to take the All Blacks reins post-2019.
“I speak as someone within rugby and I think he is getting more widely known in the public, and rightly so for the results he’s achieved,” Smith said.
“Within New Zealand rugby and with players he worked with before coming overseas, he was always highly regarded.
“That filters back from players he has coached up here. He’s a very good operator, he has a very good reputation.”
“[Schmidt] is well within the talks. He’s doing a great with Ireland, he’s someone who could potentially come back and coach the All Blacks, there’s a few around,” added Smith.
“It’s not an outrageous thought and it’s even before now, the last two or three years, he was already talked about as someone we’d love to have back.”
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