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'Passionate' Leinster coach ideal candidate, says Quins boss

Harlequins head coach Conor O'Shea has suggested Joe Schmidt is the ideal candidate to take over from Declan Kidney as the next Ireland coach but insists that whoever takes the reins should be given complete autonomy by the IRFU.

O'Shea, who is preparing for Sunday's Heineken Cup quarter-final clash against Munster, again reiterated that he wouldn't find it hard to turn down an IRFU approach, stating that he is committed to completing his contract with the Londoners until 2015.

"Guys like Joe Schmidt should be taken on for this job," he said. "You shouldn't really push anyone but from the outside looking in, Joe Schmidt appears to be an incredibly passionate bloke, he knows the Irish system and he plays rugby the way it should be played.

"He certainly looks to be the man; looking from the outside he looks like a fantastic individual as well as an outstanding coach.

"My job is firmly over here with Harlequins and that's what I'll be focused on. I've a contract to fulfil so I'm not going to go anywhere.

"You see from Declan Kidney, the greatest coach Ireland ever had, you're six games from being a hero and everyone wants you – or you're six games from being the most rubbish person alive.

"Look at Wales this year. They lost seven games and then lose to Ireland. They're rubbish, their coach is rubbish, their players are rubbish and none of them will get on the Lions. Suddenly, four games and five weeks later, they're all going on the Lions tour and they've won the championship. So I think planning in sport is a dangerous thing.

"My plan involves three to five years of planning here at Quins, but the plan revolves around this week and Munster."

O'Shea was keen to discuss how the Irish rugby system should develop in tandem with the incoming coach.

"I think you need to be careful because you have to remember we are the amateur game. We have a top-class pool of talent because of the way the game is structured," he said.

"So you don't want to lose that link. But what do you want in a job? You want to live and die by your own sword. You don't want to go away from it thinking, if this or that was given to me, or if this happened, what I could have achieved.

"You have to make sure the guy is given full autonomy to do the job in the way they want to do it. And if they fail, they can't blame anyone and you know they've been given a fair crack."

Asked if he might take up an offer in the future, O'Shea responded: "I don't know, that will be down to other people. It's very flattering to be linked with it."

Clermont head coach Vern Cotter yesterday became the latest name to rule himself out of the running for the Ireland job.

Irish Independent