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'Accidental coach' Schmidt 'not really' interested in the All Blacks jobs

The Ireland head coach says he’s been lucky in his career.

WHAT NEXT FOR Joe Schmidt?

The Ireland head coach’s future beyond this year’s World Cup remains something of a mystery, although we do know now that the New Zealand native plans to take at least 12 months out of coaching.

It’s quite clear that Schmidt’s initially-stated intention to “finish coaching” does not mean permanent retirement from the game and the fact that his wife is joking about him lasting only 12 days before he gets the coaching itch says it all.

Ireland v New Zealand - Autumn International - Aviva Stadium Schmidt hopes to finish on a high with Ireland in 2019. Source: Niall Carson

All Blacks boss Steve Hansen confirmed last month that he will step down after the World Cup too and New Zealand Rugby has yet to make an announcement on his successor.

Schmidt, as a Kiwi and one of the leading coaches in the world, is an obvious contender next year or further down the line, but he insisted yesterday that he doesn’t have a great interest in coaching the All Blacks.

“Not really,” said Schmidt at the Six Nations launch in London. “I don’t want to bore you with the whole history of it but I’m an incredibly accidental coach. Even when I started coaching, it was when I first started teaching.

“I’d been playing a bit of basketball and obviously as a point guard I’m not the biggest man but when I first started at Palmerston North Boys’ High, I got asked by Dave Sims, the rector.

“Well, I didn’t really get asked, I got told that I needed to be involved in the co-curricular life of the school and I said, ‘Look, I’d love to coach basketball’ and he said, ‘That’s brilliant, that’s on Friday nights, it won’t affect your rugby coaching on Saturday mornings.’

“At the time I was playing on the wing for Manawatu, the provincial team, and it kind of went from there.

“So I love the game, I’ve played it from the time I was four years old.

“It’s not that I don’t love the game, I just think that it wasn’t an intended career and I just have a few priorities that just kind of re-shaped my thinking a little bit.

“At the same time, to be honest, you can’t keep riding your luck. I’ve had an unbelievable time in the game, whether it be with Bay of Plenty in the Ranfurly Shield or even when we finished up with the Blues with that last [Super Rugby] semi-final, I thought it was a really good step and the Bouclier de Brennus in France and with Leinster, and now with Ireland… I think you’ve got to run out of luck at some stage.”

- Originally published at 06.45

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Murray Kinsella

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