'Never say never' - Joe Schmidt leaves door open for future coaching role after winning Manager of the Year prize
Joe Schmidt has said that he will "never say never" with regards to coaching the All Blacks further down the line.
The Ireland coach confirmed at the end of the last month that he will step down from his position with Ireland and return home to New Zealand.
In his departing statement, Schmidt said that he would be stepping away from coaching to spend time with his family, but speaking today in Dublin after he was announced as the Philips Manager of the Year, he left the door open for a possible future role with his home country.
"I would say it is difficult not to stay where I am," Schmidt said.
"It’s difficult not to keep doing what I am doing with a fantastic group of people.
"Whatever decision you make you never say never but you are always trying to the best you can in a very short term you have left. For me that’s 11 months I’m not looking any more forward than that."
2018 saw Schmidt guide Ireland to a Six Nations Grand Slam, a summer series win in Australia before the team claimed a historic first ever victory over the All Blacks on home soil.
It is the second time that Schmidt has won the top prize for Irish coaches, also taking home the honour after winning the Six Nations in his first season in 2014.
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Other contenders for the award this year were Graham Shaw, the head coach of the Irish women's hockey team that reached the World Cup final, Jim Gavin, whose Dublin side completed an All-Ireland four in-a-row, and Dominic Casey, who oversaw another great year for Irish rowing.
Schmidt becomes just the fourth coach/manager to win the award more than once, along with Brian Kerr (twice), Declan Kidney (three times) and Jack Charlton (four times).
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