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Schmidt open to Irish role

LEINSTER coach Joe Schmidt admits his priority is building on the success the province generated last season, but he is open to the possibility of becoming Ireland's backs coach.

The New Zealander steered Leinster to their second Heineken Cup last May in his first season in charge, and he has forged a reputation as one of the foremost attacking coaches in the game, having helped Clermont to the Top 14 title in that role in 2010.

After Alan Gaffney's contract as backs coach concluded after Ireland's World Cup exit, it has led to speculation that a way could be found for Schmidt to combine his Leinster head coach duties with a role for Ireland.

"I love the job I am doing here," said Schmidt. "I'd never say never but I haven't been approached, and it's not something I have given thought to.

"If I was approached, I would have to think about it and then talk to my family and to Leinster as well. I am contracted to Leinster until 2013 and I would say that any job I have done in rugby, I have never not done (completed) my contract."

No decision has been taken on who will replace Gaffney, although discussions are understood to be under way with Connacht and Irish Wolfhounds coach Eric Elwood.

Meanwhile, Leinster have announced that more than 35,000 tickets have been sold for their Pro 12 showdown with Munster at Lansdowne Road on November 4.