Friday 24 November 2017

Schmidt a contender for Lions coaching team - Gatland

Warren Gatland
Warren Gatland

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt could be taking on New Zealand again next year as Warren Gatland has said he would like him as part of his Lions management team.

Gatland will be putting his Lions backroom team in place "in the next few weeks" and spoke of his respect for Schmidt following Ireland's historic win over the All Blacks in Chicago last Saturday.

"There's an opportunity there. Joe has been absolutely fantastic for Clermont, Leinster and now Ireland," said Gatland.

"Achieving that result last weekend was brilliant. There was uncertainty a while ago about what he was doing, but now he has made that commitment to Ireland until the next World Cup, so there is potential there."

Ireland defence coach Andy Farrell is another potential target for Gatland. When it was put to Gatland that Farrell was certain to be a part of his team, he laughed:

"We'll wait and see. He is someone who achieved a huge amount as a player, for Wigan and Great Britain. When he speaks to the players, he brings out a lot of those experiences he had in the past, and that has an impact.

Delivers

"It often hits the right note and he delivers really well."

Gatland feels that Ireland's win will give the Lions a psychological boost ahead of next year's Tour.

"From a Lions perspective, we've got a group of players who've got the monkey off their backs and done it," he said.

"I've said that players shouldn't get on the plane unless they will go to New Zealand believing they can win. Now, there are a group of players who have done that.

"Ireland's resolve was great, they continued to pressurise and you started to see balls going to ground as the All Black players were in unfamiliar territory.

"We are always trying to deliver that message; that sometimes there is vulnerability, if you put them under pressure.

"It definitely has an impact, just like that victory England had against New Zealand a few years ago. It is about overcoming that first hurdle and when that has happened, it can become a habit, so it is brilliant now that a number of players who could potentially go on the tour have experienced that; beating the All Blacks."

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