Sport International Rugby

Tuesday 15 October 2019

OUT?... Speculation mounts that Schmidt will head home to New Zealand


Ireland rugby's head coach Joe Schmidt may be heading back to New Zealand. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Ireland rugby's head coach Joe Schmidt may be heading back to New Zealand. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Rúaidhrí O'Connor

Joe Schmidt's decision on his future looms over today's final November international against the United States and captain Rhys Ruddock says the coach has managed to keep his message fresh despite being in charge of some of the players for eight years.

The Ireland coach has previously expressed concern that he could be growing stale to some members of the squad who, like Ruddock, have been working for him at Leinster and Ireland since he arrived in 2010.

After overseeing the clash with the Eagles, Schmidt will make a final decision on his future beyond next year's World Cup at a family brunch tomorrow morning before informing the IRFU of his intentions.

Although he says he has not yet made up his mind, there is mounting speculation that he will choose to leave his position.

An announcement could be made as early as Monday.

But Ruddock, who described Schmidt as an "incredible coach" said he had no fears over the idea of him staying on.

"I don't think that's an issue," said Ruddock.

"Some of the players haven't lasted as long as he has. The players are always changing.

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"I think you can compare it to football managers, and there are certain managers who seem to be able to stay and still have the backing and the respect of the team and for me, Joe certainly has that."

Meanwhile, as if things weren't bad enough for him and his team on the field, Dragons head coach Bernard Jackman has been handed a stadium ban for the next two weeks.

Former Leinster hooker Jackman has been found guilty of a breach of code of conduct by the Welsh Rugby Union in relation to comments made about referee Ian Davies.

He has been slapped with a four-week stadium ban by the WRU, two of which have been suspended until the end of the season.

It means Jackman will now not be able to prepare his side, who are bottom of Conference B, for the Guinness PRO14 games against Edinburgh on Sunday and reigning champions Leinster next weekend.

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