Wayne Smith on the ABs' wishlist for World Cup
Chiefs assistant coach Wayne Smith is on the All Blacks wishlist as they look toward next year's Rugby World Cup.
However, any return to national set up for a man widely regarded as one of world rugby's best coaches, does not appear to be imminent.
Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie revealed on Radio Sport today that his assistant faced a tough choice between staying with the Hamilton based Super Rugby side, or answering the call to aid the All Blacks' bid to win back to back World Cups in England.
''Obviously now that we're finished we'll have a chat with Smithy. There's still a bit of acid on him from an All Black point of view,'' Rennie said in the wake of the Chiefs' 32-30 loss to the Brumbies in Canberra.
''I think New Zealand rugby would probably like to get him involved for that World Cup and you can understand why. Ultimately he's committed to New Zealand rugby so he won't be going anywhere, but I guess we [the Chiefs] have to go through some discussions around that.''
Rennie indicated that if Smith took up a role with the All Blacks, it would rule him out of the Chiefs' plans next year.
''He's the type of guy a guy who goes into things full on. There are no half measures with him, so I guess he has to get his head around things and make some decisions around what's best for him and his family, that's key in the end.
''There's no doubt New Zealand would be keen to get him involved. He's a superb coach. He's been massive for us and obviously we'd love to have him involved with us again, but there's a bit of pressure there I guess.
''Also he wants to spend a bit more time with the family and he's got his parents down in Putaruru. and so on and so on... Now that we're finished there is a chance to sit down and clarify what's important to him. At the end of the day we support whatever decision he makes and it has to be what's best for him and his family.''
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen declined to comment on whether Smith, one of Graham Henry's assistants at the 2011 Rugby World Cup, had been asked to return to the coaching group.
The management group's sole focus was on the 2014 Rugby Championship and end of year tour.
However, Smith would undoubtedly bolster the All Blacks coaching set up.
The 57-year-old's vast experience, he is a former All Black head coach himself, and winning record - he helped the Chiefs to back to back titles after easing out of the national side - would complement the current group.
Smith could possibly provide a specialist defence coach allowing Aussie McLean to continue his new role of analysing opposition sides.
The current coaching set up has Hansen as head coach, Ian Foster in charge of attack, Mike Cron the set piece and forwards, and Mick Byrne on skills.
Rennie suggested Smith had been asked to return to an on-field role rather than being tasked with analysis.
''If Smithy's involved he'll coach. He's a guy who wants to be involved on the grass. He's superb in regard to the analytical stuff, but he's a superb coach and I'd say anyone who gets him involved will want him on the grass.
''As I said there's no half measures with him. He'll either be with us [the Chiefs] and be into it full time or he'll have another option. We're pretty keen to keep him involved, but we'll go through the process and we'll know a bit more in the next few weeks.''
Rennie said the Chiefs would begin their review process almost immediately as they look at the reasons why their 2014 campaign did not scale the heights of the two previous ones.