Sunday 15 September 2019

Schmidt 'not any clearer' with decision on his future

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt. Photo: Sportsfile
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Joe Schmidt has confirmed that he will make an announcement on his future tomorrow. Fears are growing that the Ireland head coach, who is out of contract after next year's World Cup, will decide to bring an end to his tenure in charge.

The IRFU have already tabled an offer to keep the Kiwi beyond next year, and Schmidt will reveal his decision tomorrow.

The union have already been made aware of their main man's thinking but Schmidt will speak to his family tomorrow before making a final call.

"I'm not any clearer, I'm just incredibly lucky to have the IRFU with the patience they have," he said after Ireland's 57-14 win over the USA at the Aviva Stadium.

"I committed to a certain time frame with them and I stuck to that. I have given them an indication. I just need to talk to people tomorrow, and early next week, it will be made public. To be honest, it's probably frustrating for you [media] guys but it is really wrecking my head.

"They [IRFU] have said, 'Don't be rash. If you change your mind, we would love to continue that conversation or if you change your mind, we don't need to have that conversation. If we just continue as we are, that's great'.

"So they have set out about five different scenarios just in case we can sort something without too much drama.

"I'm going to take some time tomorrow because it was a really busy week, we were flat-out trying to put this group together. That takes every bit of your spare time. On Monday we'll make a decision; I don't want to muck people around and I'm really conscious to give everyone clarity."

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Asked if a resoundingly successful month has made his decision more difficult, Schmidt continued: "It's never well oiled but it's a machine and I am a small cog in the machine. The coaching staff . . . I know I might sound like a broken record but I am so confident that we have such a great group, whether it's the logistics staff or analysis staff or the medical staff. The last month has been a huge collective effort."

Ireland rounded off a positive November Series by racking up their fourth win of the month in front of another sell-out crowd.

Several players will return to their provinces with knocks, however. Jack Conan was in a sling at full-time after suffering a shoulder injury, while Will Addison (HIA) and Darren Sweetnam (back) were also forced off.

There was a debut for Munster centre Sammy Arnold, who had to slot in an a more unfamiliar position on the wing, but Schmidt praised the 22-year-old's efforts.

"It's good news for us that guys got that hit-out," the Ireland boss said. "It was great for Sammy Arnold to make his debut, great for John Ryan to get his first Test try and I think there were a couple of guys who showed they've got a touch of class out there and other guys who showed they're prepared to work hard.

"A couple of errors crept in that are always frustrating but in the end, putting points on a competitive team like that is satisfying."

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