Joe Schmidt Ryan Byrne/INPHO
No Show Like a Joe Show

New Zealand rugby chief: 'Joe is sitting in Ireland and we'd like to have him back'

Steve Tew says Joe Schmidt and Warren Gatland could be among the candidates for the All Blacks job in 2019.

JOE SCHMIDT AND Warren Gatland are being considered as potential successors to current New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen.

Wales boss Gatland, who is seeking to guide the British and Irish Lions to glory against the All Blacks over the coming weeks, has been talked up as a potential replacement should Hansen stand down after the 2019 World Cup.

Steve Tew, New Zealand Rugby’s chief executive, confirmed that Gatland was among the contenders, along with Ireland head coach Schmidt and Montpellier’s Vern Cotter. However, Hansen’s assistant Ian Foster remains the favourite.

“In my view Ian Foster is sitting there as a very strong candidate when Steve does finish, but there’ll be others,” Tew told The Guardian.

“Joe is sitting in Ireland and we’d like to have him back. Vern is coaching at a very high level and you wouldn’t rule Gatty [Gatland] out either.

“You’ll have to ask Warren what he wants to do next. We don’t know what Steve’s doing yet, but what we will do is manage the transition very well. We’ll be sitting down later this year to work out the process.”

Gatland has been in charge of Wales since 2007, but his Lions squad have endured an underwhelming start to the tour of his home country.

The first of three Tests against the world champions is two weeks away and the Lions’ last match ended in a loss to struggling Super Rugby side Blues. Next up is tomorrow’s clash with the table-topping Crusaders.

Schmidt took over as Ireland boss in 2013. He signed a new contract last October to remain in charge until the end of the 2019 World Cup.

The New Zealand-born 51-year-old’s next assignment will be tomrorrow’s Test against USA in New Jersey.

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