Leinster coach Joe Schmidt has urged Rhys Ruddock to ignore interest from arch RaboDirect PRO12 rivals Munster, claiming his future lies with the European champions.
The 21-year-old back row, son of former Wales coach Mike, has seen his season disrupted by niggling injuries but has still captained Leinster when senior players such as Brian O’Driscoll and Leo Cullen have been unavailable through injury or on World Cup duty.
Munster have expressed an interest in bringing Ruddock, who won one cap for Ireland against Australia in 2010, to Limerick but Schmidt believes that he would be wiser to stay put – especially considering counterpart Tony McGahan already has Peter O’Mahony and Billy Holland at his disposal.
“I can understand why they’re interested in him,” said Schmidt. “We’d obviously be very disappointed to lose Rhys.
“He has obviously captained the side seven or eight times and that’s a measure of the respect we have for him as a potential leader of the club.
“I think there are a few things that have gone against him this year as far as injury is concerned, he got a few knocks and it kind of messed with a bit of his rhythm but I think he came on and had a good impact at the weekend and we’d be delighted if he would continue with us.
“In defence of Leinster, I think Rhys has made really good progress here. There are role models for him to learn from and work with.
“I’d like to think that Rhys would opt to stay with Leinster and believe that that’s where his future lies.”