INPHO/Dan Sheridan
In Demand

Aspects of Ireland job would suit family life, says 'flattered' Joe Schmidt

The Leinster coach will discuss a potential role as Ireland coach with the IRFU this week.

LEINSTER COACH JOE Schmidt today underlined his interest in becoming the next Ireland coach.

On Sunday, the IRFU confirmed that they had approached Schmidt as a candidate to fill the post vacated by Declan Kidney and the Kiwi will meet with the union’s representatives either tomorrow or Thursday.

Speaking ahead of Leinster’s trip to face Zebre in the Pro12 this weekend, Schmidt made no attempt to distance himself from the role.

The Ireland squad, Schmidt says, “are a group that would be really challenging and exciting to take up. There are other aspects of it that would probably suit family life a little bit more than the 24/7 that I spend thinking about rugby – if not doing it and analysing it.

“Whoever gets the opportunity (to coach Ireland) it will be a massive challenge and an exciting one and I think anyone would be energised by that.”

Previously it has seemed that family commitments would entice the north islander home, but the approached from the IRFU has made him consider the flexibility an international coaching role would offer.

Asked directly if he would take the job, Schmidt understandably replied: “That’s an impossible question to ask.”

But he added: “I am flattered. I don’t see or do too much outside of rugby, so for people to consider me as worthy of a post of that nature is flattering.

“At the same time, family-wise, it might fit okay because there is more flexibility. I live by this job and we’ve got a young fella who struggles a little bit with illness so it’d be a great opportunity to maybe be a little bit more flexible with my time.

“The post itself is obviously an attractive one, but the flexibility around the post would also be something attractive, but the pressure of the post wouldn’t be top of my list of things that would be attractive.”

The timing of his meeting with the union is yet to be finalised, but Schmidt is evidently keen to open a dialogue.

“By Friday, at least I’ll have spoken to them and we’ll both be a little bit clearer on where we both stand.”

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