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Schmidt to make decision on Ireland future by the end of the year

The Kiwi is out of contract after the 2019 World Cup and plans to put his family first.

Murray Kinsella reports from Sydney

JOE SCHMIDT SAYS he plans to make a decision by the end of this year on whether or not to extend his contract as Ireland’s head coach.

Schmidt’s current deal brings him through until the end of the 2019 World Cup in Japan and with the IRFU hoping he will remain in charge beyond that, the New Zealander will have an important decision to make.

Joe Schmidt with Jordan Larmour Schmidt has a big decision ahead. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Regarded as one of the finest coaches in the game, Schmidt’s services will be in high demand elsewhere again but he says his family will come first in any decision he makes.

Schmidt insisted that he hasn’t given the decision any great thought just yet and won’t concentrate on doing so until after this year’s November Tests.

“That is a long way away,” said Schmidt in Sydney yesterday. “Some of that stuff will probably, by the end of this year I’d say, there will be some clear direction there because for the entire following year I am still in situ unless I get sacked.

“You just never take anything for granted. You can be flavour of the week one week and then things can turn around very quickly.

“I take nothing for granted but I have been lucky enough to do the job for as long as I have and I have really enjoyed the people I have worked with. One of the misconceptions is that a head coach has a major influence.

“I would like to think I have a degree of influence but I have a great coaching team and that includes Jason Cowman and the strength and conditioning department and the medical team.

“I think Ireland are really lucky. Conor [Murray] mentioned earlier that the coaches manage the players well but the medical people have managed them well as well. It is a really nicely oiled machine to be part of and I have benefitted from that massively.

“I would say I will try and get through the November series. That was announced recently and it will be quite exciting for us, obviously with the All Blacks coming, Argentina and the USA, with USA on the back of their first Tier one scalp [since 1924], and we’re away to Italy in Chicago which has some really special memories for us.

Joe Schmidt Schmidt at Ireland training this week in sunny Sydney. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“That is a really nice group of games and then following that, one of the few times of the year our family manages to get together is Christmas and we will make a decision after that, I would say.”

Schmidt and wife Kellie have four children, three of whom live in Dublin, with one of their daughters back in New Zealand, where Schmidt’s mother also lives.

The Ireland head coach stressed that his family would be the most important factor in weighing up his next move.

“I think that has got to be a priority for anyone in a job because I am kept pretty happy, pretty easily, being able to work with the quality of the people that I work with, so from that perspective, it is incredibly positive,” said Schmidt.

“My family obviously extends beyond my immediate family, and there is some lingering doubt about being so far away, but I tend to be able to get back once a year and that is a pretty precious time to get back and enjoy the rest of the family. Yeah, it is one of those things, any time I have thought about it, I have stopped myself thinking about it.

“I have said ‘Yeah, just get on with the job in hand and when you get to the end of November, give yourself a couple of weeks not to linger too much over it, but just to make a decision.’

“There will be times when I lapse and think about it briefly and I think that is important as well, just so I can try to be definitive when the time comes.”

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Murray Kinsella

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