Sunday 8 December 2019

'Gutted' and 'broken' Joe Schmidt had two job offers on table day after World Cup exit

Joe Schmidt stepped down as Ireland head coach after the World Cup. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Joe Schmidt stepped down as Ireland head coach after the World Cup. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile newsdesk

Ireland's latest World Cup quarter-final exit has not damaged Joe Schmidt's reputation as the former head coach revealed that he was offered two jobs the day after his side were dumped out of the tournament by the All Blacks.

Speaking in an exclusive interview, which will be published on and in the Sunday Independent this weekend, Schmidt alluded to how it was reassuring to know that he was still in demand.

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The Kiwi opted against running for the vacant New Zealand job as he plans to take an extended break from coaching, although upon arriving home from Japan he admitted that he would be ready to return next summer.

In the wide-ranging interview, Schmidt touched upon several topics, including how he was finding it difficult to get over the "emotional roller-coaster" and the "heaviness" that he was left with after Ireland capitulated in 2019 before being knocked out of the World Cup without firing a shot.

Schmidt has already been linked with several jobs around the world, but he insisted that he hasn't yet made any plans about where he will end up next.

"No one is leading the charge per se," he said.

"I got two job offers the evening after the quarter-final. I mean, I was absolutely gutted but it is just good to keep things in context because I was broken after that quarter-final.

"Not that I didn't think the All Blacks weren't potentially going to beat us at our best, but to be so far below our best was the biggest disappointment."

The 54-year-old plans to remain living in Dublin for the foreseeable future, presumably until the time does come to return to the coaching world.

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Despite failing to take Ireland to a first World Cup semi-final in two attempts, Schmidt propelled Irish rugby to new heights throughout his six-year spell in charge of the national team, and for that reason, he remains one of the most sought-after names in the game.

Having invested so much in the Ireland job, Schmidt will spend time with his family before deciding on his next move.

"I live and die by my job but I rode this emotional roller-coaster during the lead-up to the World Cup and during the World Cup.

"Kellie (his wife) got us away for six days in Spain and it was only after that that I actually felt right.

"That it was time to move on, that I had to shake this, this kind of heaviness. Because it does linger."

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