Dan Sheridan/INPHO Kearney has worked with the Kiwi for the last six years.
# No Show Like a Joe Show
'It would be disastrous if Joe left' - Kearney hopeful Schmidt extends Ireland stay
The Leinster winger says it would be a huge blow if the Kiwi was to move on next summer.

DAVE KEARNEY ADMITS losing Joe Schmidt as Ireland head coach would be ‘disastrous’ for the national team if he decides to move on next summer.

Schmidt’s contract with the IRFU expires in June 2017 and he revealed last week that he would make a decision on his future following Ireland’s three-Test tour of South Africa.

The 50-year-old, who guided Ireland to back-to-back Six Nations titles in 2014 and 2015, will no doubt be tempted to return to his native New Zealand after admitting his next move may be influenced by external factors.

“Obviously it would be disastrous if Joe left,” Kearney said at Leinster HQ this afternoon. “He’s one of the best coaches in the world, he’s done so much for Irish rugby and for Leinster rugby also.

“Back-to-back Six Nations and while we didn’t get silverware this season unfortunately, we did have some good performances. I mean no team ever wants to lose world class coaches so hopefully we’ll be able to hold onto him.”

Kearney worked under Schmidt at Leinster too as the Kiwi delivered two Heineken Cup crowns, a Challenge cup triumph and a Pro12 title to the eastern province.

Schmidt himself insisted questions over his future were premature and Kearney believes any criticism levelled at the head coach is completely unfounded.

Dave Kearney Ryan Byrne / INPHO Kearney is back after missing five weeks through injury. Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

“I don’t read too much into it to be honest, it’s just the way those things go,” he continued.

“It’s hard to give a coach slack when you’ve won back-to-back Six Nations and I know expectations are high but by no means have we had a disastrous Six Nations and of course we want to win and we want to finish high but that didn’t happen this year.

“One point in the difference between France and a draw against Wales, one bounce of the ball can be different and suddenly it’s a different campaign.”

With the Six Nations over and the next international window not until June, the focus has reverted back to provincial matters ahead of back-to-back derbies for Leinster.

With games against Connacht and Munster on the horizon, it’s crunch time in the race for the Pro12 play-offs and Kearney is delighted to be back in the fold.

The winger missed the remainder of Ireland’s championship campaign after sustaining a shoulder injury in the defeat in Paris.

He returned to action last Friday in Leinster’s disappointing loss to Glasgow and came through 80 minutes unscathed.

“It’s not too bad,” the 26-year-old said of his shoulder. “I got through 80 minutes at the weekend. I was feeling good and good to be back on the pitch. I took five weeks and have been rehabbing it a far bit and building my strength back up.

Dave Kearney down injured Dan Sheridan / INPHO He suffered the injury at the Stade de France last month. Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

“I didn’t have too much to do on Friday but thankfully no recuperations.

“It’s tough, it’s never nice missing games, it’s just bad timing but it could have been worse, I could have been out for the rest of the season but thankfully it wasn’t so bad.

“I’m back on the horse now and there are big games coming up for us over the next couple of months.”

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