Thursday 13 December 2018

Schmidt: 'If I'm staying I want the clarity going forward and if I'm not staying I want the clarity for the IRFU'

Joe Schmidt during the Ireland rugby captain's run at Soldier Field in Chicago
Joe Schmidt during the Ireland rugby captain's run at Soldier Field in Chicago
'The 53-year-old has overseen a golden era for Irish rugby which included a third Grand Slam in the country's history, a first win over the All Blacks and a first series victory on South African soil.' Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Joe Schmidt has revealed that he will make a decision on whether or not to sign a contract extension with Ireland by the end of the month.

The head coach's current deal runs until after next year's World Cup and the IRFU are understandably eager for Schmidt to stay on.

The 53-year-old has overseen a golden era for Irish rugby which included a third Grand Slam in the country's history, a first win over the All Blacks and a first Test victory on South African soil.

Speaking in Chicago ahead of today's clash against Italy at Soldier Field (8.0), Schmidt admitted that he had already spoken with his family as he nears a decision on his future.

"Yes, by the end of November I will (decide)," Schmidt said.

"I think it's one of those things where you've just got to sit down and make a decision. You can't let it linger, for two reasons really.

"One, if I'm staying I want the clarity going forward and if I'm not staying I want the clarity for the IRFU because I think half the job is what gets done under your watch, the other half of the job is how you leave it so that somebody else can pick it up. And so I want nice clarity either way."

With another plethora of quality young players coming through, Schmidt may well be tempted to extend his stay in Ireland, although he has been away from New Zealand for 11 years and is mindful of his family back there.

"Look, I cannot say that I've ever enjoyed working more with a group and whether that's the young guys that are here or whether it's the guys that we just finished with in Carton House," Schmidt continued.

"I am really good at compartmentalising and I got home for a night (on Wednesday) so it was great to catch up with the family and try to block out a few things, and when they headed off to bed I got a little bit done and I got a few things done on the plane.

"But I know that, I've spoken to (wife) Kellie, even the kids, talking to Tim last night, just trying to make a decision that is the right one for all of us really."

Schmidt also confirmed that Conor Murray trained well in Carton House earlier this week as he targets a return for the All Blacks game on November 17.

"Well, based on his training in the last few days, he's super, super sharp," Schmidt added.

"I think because we are going to err on the side of caution. I just think at this stage, he would be a very outside chance of being involved.

"To be honest, he would have to be really flying in that New Zealand week to be involved. It definitely gave me food for thought, the last few days working with him and seeing how sharp he was."

Ireland v Italy,
Live, eir Sport, 8.0pm

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