Leinster scrum-half Isaac Boss says it's no surprise Auckland Blues want Joe Schmidt and believes any club would be lucky to have the New Zealander as their coach.
The Blues have advertised for a coach to replace Pat Lam after just one win from 10 Super 15 outings this season, with reports from New Zealand claiming that Leinster coach Schmidt, who worked with the Auckland franchise between 2004 and 2007, is top of their wish-list.
Ireland international and ex-Ulster star Boss, raised in Tokorua, is a huge admirer of his fellow Kiwi and, with Schmidt hoping to land back-to-back Heineken Cup titles when Leinster take on Ulster in the final at Twickenham tomorrow week, says the interest from Auckland reflects how well he has led the province.
“I don't see why others wouldn't be chasing a coach like him," said Boss.
“All the guys at Leinster have tremendous respect for him and for the whole coaching set-up.
“You're more focused on your job (under Schmidt) and everyone in the squad has got more responsibility for their own roles."
New Zealand media claim the Blues are also interested in Leinster's other Kiwis, forwards coach Jono Gibbes and scrum coach Greg Feek. Gibbes, who has just signed a two-year deal to stay with the province, dismissed any notions of a return to New Zealand for any of the coaches.
“It's just speculation," said Gibbes.
“Pat's job has been advertised, but we are a few thousand miles away from that with an important couple of weeks coming up, so that is our focus.”
Leinster take on Glasgow in the Pro12 semi-final at the RDS tomorrow and Gibbes stressed that they will not begin thinking about the Heineken Cup final until after that test.
“Glasgow stands alone,”he said. “It's a one-off game for them and the quality they possess demands respect.”