Ireland remain in limbo over the future of Joe Schmidt, who is yet to make a decision on his future
There is an offer on the table for him to extend his contract through until the 2019 Rugby World Cup
Interest in Schmidt from Super Rugby heavyweights the Highlanders and the Chiefs is also still live
Those waiting in anticipation for an announcement on Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt’s future this summer might be waiting a little longer yet.
The 50-year-old said he would make a decision on whether to extend his contract through until the 2019 Rugby World Cup following the June summer tour to South Africa.
The IRFU’s offer to extend Schmidt’s deal, currently set to expire in June 2017, remains on the table, while the interest in Schmidt from Super Rugby heavyweights the Highlanders and the Chiefs is also still live.
Ireland number eight Jamie Heaslip has urged Schmidt to extend his contract with the national team.
“From a purely selfish point of view and for the team, I think everyone would love Joe to stay here,” Heaslip said.
“But, you know, things happen, things change and we’ll see where the cards fall.
“I would love it if Joe was here all the way through to the next World Cup, I think a lot of players would as well. I think a lot of players benefit under his tutelage in Ireland camp.
“He places different pressures at different times on players. He places a lot of pressure on training and expects you to know it. Training isn’t time to learn, it’s time to execute. You’ve got to do a lot of work off the field, he expects that.
“He expects you to deliver on the basics done well. He makes you be a good pro because he makes you cover all your bases, to make sure that everything you can do is done coming into a game or a really busy period. Then he’s always watching the videos, he’s always watching.
“You’ve got to know in the back of your head that if someone makes a linebreak, get upfield. Because if they score or someone else scores, he will pull the video back and make sure that everyone ran up the field and didn’t just sit back and wait. I’ve got caught out on that before!”
If Schmidt is to bring his famous video expertise back to New Zealand next summer, along with the rest of his coaching skills, it will be fascinating to see where the IRFU turn next.
Performance director David Nucifora said in June that there is enough “coaching intellect” in Ireland to provide a number of options to potentially succeed Schmidt, name-checking Ulster director of rugby Les Kiss and Ireland defence coach Andy Farrell.