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Joe could roar back to The Lions


Italy’s Irish-born coach Conor O’Shea is an outsider to be the next Lions head coach

Italy’s Irish-born coach Conor O’Shea is an outsider to be the next Lions head coach

Italy’s Irish-born coach Conor O’Shea is an outsider to be the next Lions head coach

Joe Schmidt thinks he would be pushing his luck by seeking a coaching role with New Zealand after this year's World Cup.

Sought-after Kiwi boss Schmidt plans at least a 12-month break when he relinquishes his role as Ireland head coach after the autumn's World Cup in Japan.

The 53-year-old has the pedigree to replace New Zealand boss Steve Hansen, who will call time on his Test tenure after this year's World Cup.

But while Schmidt left the door open on a possible British and Irish Lions coaching role in 2021, the former Leinster boss insisted he has no pretensions to the All Blacks' gig this year.

Asked if any part of him is interested in seeking an All Blacks role after the World Cup, Schmidt replied: "Not really. I don't want to bore you with the whole history of it but I'm an incredibly accidental coach.

"I started coaching when I first started teaching at Palmerston North Boys' High.

"I said, 'look, I'd love to coach basketball' and the rector Dave Sims said, 'that's brilliant, that's on Friday nights, it won't affect your rugby coaching on Saturday mornings'.

"It wasn't an intended career and I just have a few priorities that reshaped my thinking a little bit.

"At the same time, to be honest, you can't keep riding your luck.

"I've had an unbelievable time in the game, whether it be with Bay of Plenty in the Ranfurly Shield or even when we finished up with the (Auckland) Blues with that last semi-final, I thought it was a really good step.

"Then the Bouclier du Brennus (Top 14 trophy) in France and with Leinster, and now with Ireland; I think you've got to run out of luck at some stage.

"The short-term plan (after the World Cup) is not to be involved in coaching, certainly not for 12 months and I'd say quite likely longer than that.

"We've got a couple of projects that are family-related that we want to work our way through."

Schmidt has guided Ireland from eighth to second in the world rankings in his five-year tenure, overseeing the nation's first two victories over the back-to-back world champion All Blacks.

Ireland will launch both their Six Nations title defence and a hectic 2019 by hosting England in Dublin on February 2.

While Schmidt insists he is not in the market for another job straight after the World Cup, he did leave the door open for a potential future role with the Lions.

Asked if he would like to coach the Lions in 2021, Schmidt replied: "I wouldn't be available if asked at the moment.

"I said to my wife that we'd get these 12 months done and she said, 'yeah, look, you'll last 12 days, potentially, without needing to do something'.

"And I wouldn't say that I'm looking to do any coaching so it's not something that's at the forefront of my mind.

"I've had an incredibly planned life for so many years.

"So I'm kind of looking forward to having 12 months where I can just invest that energy in one direction and also not have a daily itinerary or a weekly plan."