independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Campbell dreams of Ireland playing the Schmidt way

Leinster head coach Joe Schmidt.
Leinster head coach Joe Schmidt.

IRELAND great Ollie Campbell has backed Joe Schmidt to succeed Declan Kidney as the IRFU begin the process of interviewing prospective new coaches today.

Schmidt, caretaker coach Les Kiss, Wales backs coach Shaun Edwards and another as yet unnamed hopeful are believed to be on the four-man shortlist for the national team job. Interviews will be conducted in London and Dublin.

Leinster coach Schmidt is the hot favourite for the job and has admitted his interest in recent days. He believes he will know where he stands by tomorrow.

Formality

Despite the process, Schmidt's appointment is believed to be a formality as long as he can agree a happy exit from Leinster, with whom he has another year on his contract.

The province have acknowledged that they have begun preparations for life after their most successful coach and Ireland and Lions legend Campbell (above) believes that Schmidt is the outstanding man for the job.

"I would be extremely, extremely happy if Joe Schmidt was to be made the next coach of Ireland," he told the Irish Independent.

"If Joe could get Ireland playing in the next few years in the same way that Leinster have played in the last few years, that would be my dream."

Schmidt's decision to wade into the debate surrounding the call not to cite Paul O'Connell this week has called into question whether the coach's Leinster background would prevent him from unifying the squad.

However, Campbell believes that the New Zealander's record shows he can win the national squad over. "Wherever Joe has gone, wherever he has coached, he seems to have been able to create an environment where players can flourish," he added.

"He would have no problem with any of the players buying into his philosophy of the way the game should be played."

SEE PAGES 54-55

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