The head of the NZRU has today said that Schmidt along with Gatland Lam and other coaches are on their radar.
When the 2019 Rugby World Cup finishes Steve Hansen is stepping down from his head coach role with the All Blacks and they are already planning on who to replace him with. It has emerged today that Ireland coach Joe Schmidt a strong possibility.
The NZRU have said that they have been keeping in touch with the Irish boss over the last few seasons as they get themselves ready for life after Hansen.
Schmidt has had a huge amount of success in Ireland with both Ireland and Leinster winning back to back Six Nations championships in 2014 and 2015 and back to back Heineken cups in 2011 and 2012 respectively.
This type of success has not gone unnoticed in New Zealand and has made Schmidt a strong front runner for the job in 2019 which would be a huge loss for Irish Rugby. It’s believed more in depth discussions about Hansen’s replacement will begin after the Lions tour is finished.
Speaking to media, New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew said:
“You’d have to ask Joe if he wants to apply for the job, but he’s obviously a very good coach,”
“We’ve kept in contact with Joe about the job, like we’ve kept in touch with Vern Cotter and others. Where do I start and stop? There’s Jamie Joseph, there’s Warren Gatland, there’s Pat Lam and others and we will consider a number of options. Joe is among those options.
“We’ll be having a conversation with our board in the second half of this year about the process that will run. Then we’ll make that known to everybody once it’s done and dusted.”
Schmidt’s current deal finishes at the end of the World Cup in 2019 which is similar to Gatland. At the end of this World Cup it looks like there will be a lot of changes in international management.
All Blacks assistant coach at the moment, Ian Foster, is another possibility but you would have to think the NZRU will only take the very best placing Gatland and Schmidt as distinct possibilities.
Steve Tew further said on the topic.
“I’m sure Steve will voice his opinion about who will be the next coach because he has invested a huge amount in this team,” “He won’t have a vote, but his experience and understanding of the side means he will be someone who will be consulted. At this stage we’re not quite sure when the running for the job will begin because Steve hasn’t quite decided on a final decision about his future.
“He and this group are appointed until the next Rugby World Cup and in the near future we will make a decision about who to appoint.”
The fact Schmidt has a great background in New Zealand rugby will definitely help his case, if his honours in the northern hemisphere don’t already do so and while ultimately this move is still some time away, the Irish coach could be in big demand post the 2019 World Cup in Japan.
What odds of a Joe Schmidt coached New Zealand side coming to play the 2023 Rugby World Cup in Ireland???