IT’S ALL GONE a bit quiet on Joe Schmidt’s contract situation, but the Ireland head coach says next month might be the time to get it conclusively sorted.
Chief executive Philip Browne said in mid-April that the IRFU had opened talks with the Kiwi head coach, but performance director David Nucifora pulled back from that claim later in the month by saying discussions were due to begin in the coming weeks.
Schmidt’s current contract expires after the 2016 Six Nations but given his success in achieving back-to-back titles with Ireland, as well as a November clean sweep last year, the IRFU are understandably keen to extend those terms.
When asked if there has been progress made in relation to a contract extension, Schmidt stated that next month may be the ideal window to finally sit down and chat to the IRFU in that regard.
To be honest, I don’t feel there’s too much panic and I don’t think the IRFU do either,” said Schmidt at Thomond Park this afternoon. “It’s just that I think it’s a really busy time to be honest, we’re in camp and trying to finish off the season.
“I’m not going anywhere in June and that might give us a better window. May has been really busy with the amount of games to get to, players to track and preparations to do in order to get organised for this game, get the Emerging Ireland tourists organised and ready to go as well.
“I think it’s something that we will get to, but I can’t really comment on it.”
Schmidt has been in Ireland since joining Leinster in 2010, going on to guide the province to two Heineken Cups, a Challenge Cup and a Pro12 title before moving into his current Ireland role in 2013.
His family are understood to be settled and content here, and when asked if he ever feels the lure of his native New Zealand, Schmidt shrugged off the question.
“I don’t think that far ahead to be honest!” said Schmidt. “I’ll just get this week done and then I’m looking forward to getting up to Belfast and watching the [Guinness Pro12] final.
Once that’s done and I feel the season’s finished, then I turn my head to other things.
“It’s been busy across the board, even with associated things as well. I spent Sunday morning calling into De La Salle Palmerstown, they have a special needs tag team there, and they were great fun.
“Even then you’re kind of distracted by what’s happening and even in the club game.”
Supporters across the country will be hoping the IRFU do get Schmidt’s contract extended beyond 2016, but we might have to wait another while yet to find out.
- This article was updated at 15.03 to correct, from three to two, the number of Heineken Cups Schmidt won at Leinster.