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Dublin: 11°C Monday 19 October 2020

Bath insist they have not offered job to Joe Schmidt

Schmidt had been linked with head coach position at the Rec.

Bath insist Joe Schmidt link is untrue.
Bath insist Joe Schmidt link is untrue.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

BATH HAVE DENIED approaching Joe Schmidt to become their new head coach.

The former Ireland coach has been out of rugby since the end of the World Cup and is likely to take the remainder of this season off to recharge his batteries. That hasn’t stopped the rumour mill from circulating with French newspaper, Midi-Olympique, reporting that Bath had offered Schmidt the job.

Stuart Hooper is currently operating as director of rugby at the club while former Ireland international, Girvan Dempsey, is also on the coaching ticket.

It had been reported that the new structure would see Hooper continue in his director of rugby role to deal specifically with recruitment and long-term planning, with Schmidt handed the responsibility of running the first-team.

However, a spokesman from Bath Rugby told local newspaper, Somerset Live, today that the rumours were untrue.

Former Ireland international Jamie Heaslip, who worked under Schmidt at both Leinster and Ireland, believes a potential move to the Premiership would suit his former head coach.

“I don’t where he’ll land obviously. But hearing that this morning [the links to Bath], I thought it makes sense, yeah,’ said Heaslip, who was speaking at an event with Aviva in Dublin.

“It’s a nice place. I wouldn’t say he’s mad if he took it. I’d be like ‘Yeah, I can understand that move.’ But we’ll see, loads of rumours fly around all the time. It will be interesting to see what will happen.”

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Heaslip added that a move to the Premiership would come with the added bonus of Schmidt having to deal with little interference from the RFU on issues such as managing how many minutes international players can play with their clubs.

“In the national job it’s effectively all controlled from the top down here in Ireland, so he kind of had sway on that anyway [when Ireland head coach]. In England, it’s beneficial to be a club coach as opposed to the national [team] coach because they [the union] have no say,” Heaslip added.

“I’ve said it to him that I do not believe he will never coach again. He said a while ago that he was taking a break from coaching, and I was like, ‘Not a hope, you’re 100% going to be coaching again.’ 

“He loves rugby too much. But it’s kind of dangerous, because look at Stuart [Lancaster]. Stuart after the 2015 World Cup, it doesn’t go according to plan, I think he got really harshly dealt by and with, and criticised, but he was the top man so he has to fall on the sword, right?

“He goes away, I think he went down to New Zealand for a little bit, spent a bit of time with different teams looking at things. Obviously re-assessed how he went in the top job in England, where the game is going, looked at other set-ups and what they were doing, then comes back in the Leinster mode with all these learnings and… Oh my God, it’s exciting. Having been in there [at Leinster], and then talking to guys who are still there, it’s really interesting to see how much he has evolved in the way [his teams are] playing and his coaching style as well. 

“Someone like Joe will probably do something very very similar to that. I would not want to be playing against a team coached by Joe Schmidt, particularly a side with the resources of someone like Bath.”

About the author:

Garry Doyle

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