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Cup-winning coach keeps his focus on job at hand

LEINSTER coach Joe Schmidt could be facing his last match as Leinster coach, before he is announced as Ireland coach.

The twice-Heineken-cup-winning supremo was expected by many to be named as Ireland head coach this week, but that is now expected to happen on Monday.

The extremely affable Kiwi has been a phenomenon at Leinster and is one of the most sought-after coaches in the world.

Schmidt has done everything in his power to play down the expected appointment, with a level of professionalism he has become renowned for.

"I've really tried to be open and candid about that and there's nothing further to add, really," he said this week, before today's Amlin Cup showdown with French side Biarritz.

"To be honest, it's not too distracting to me. When you've got a team like Biarritz coming to town, it's not too much of a distraction because you've really got to keep your focus on what's in front of you."

Schmidt has been endorsed for the role by Brian O'Driscoll who has described the New Zealander as his most influential coach over the past decade.

Whatever happens in the coming days, only one thing will be on Joe's mind today as he attempts to get Leinster into their first Amlin Cup final.

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Irish Independent