'We've kept in contact with Joe Schmidt over the All Blacks job' - NZRU chief
Joe Schmidt will be among the front-runners to replace Steve Hansen after the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, according to New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew.
Speaking to the Irish Times today, Tew confirmed that they are in frequent contact with the Ireland head coach about the role.
Schmidt's impressive record in the northern hemisphere with Clermont, Leinster and Ireland will undoubtedly place him among the favourites in two year's time.
Masterminding Ireland's only ever victory over the Kiwis in Chicago last November is also a huge plus.
“You’d have to ask Joe if he wants to apply for the job, but he’s obviously a very good coach,” Tew said.
“We’ve kept in contact with Joe about the job, like we’ve kept in touch with Vern Cotter and others. Where do I start and stop? There’s Jamie Joseph, there’s Warren Gatland, there’s Pat Lam and others and we will consider a number of options. Joe is among those options.
“We’ll be having a conversation with our board in the second half of this year about the process that will run. Then we’ll make that known to everybody once it’s done and dusted.
“The critical thing from our point of view is we’re not gong to appoint someone who doesn’t have a good grounding in New Zealand rugby and who doesn’t have a good vision for the team that we can all buy into.
“I think Joe is someone who might have that, but we would hope all the New Zealand coaches who are offshore would be keeping an eye on the job and considering it as an option. Ultimately it will come down to who applies, who we see as the best candidate, and who has the best team around them to take the team forward.”
Hansen’s current assistant Ian Foster is also among the favourites to succeed Hansen.
Schmidt's current contract with the IRFU expires at the end of the World Cup in the Far East.