Joe Schmidt: Former Ireland coach to join race for All Blacks top job
Former Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt is set to join the race to fill the All Blacks head coach role after the Rugby World Cup in France.
Last week, New Zealand Rugby (NZR) confirmed that they will break tradition and start the process of selecting the head coach from 2024 before the Rugby World Cup.
This led to a swift response from Ian Foster, the current head coach, who confirmed that he would not reapply for the job.
Schmidt to join the race?
Japan head coach Jamie Joseph and Crusaders boss Scott Robertson are the leading candidates for the position, but they could have stiff competition as Schmidt could put his name into the mix.
Stuff.co.nz reports that while Schmidt has not yet thrown his hat in the ring, he has crucially left the door open. Schmidt joined the All Blacks coaching team last year, leading the team in the opening Test against Ireland when Foster and his assistants were hit with Covid-19.
Schmidt stepped away from coaching after the 2019 Rugby World Cup due to family commitments but made a soft return as an advisor for the Blues, eventually leading to the All Blacks.
The 57-year-old was reportedly reluctant to apply for the job, but he is believed to have softened to the idea. Stuff adds that he has the support of the senior All Black players.
According to the report, NZ Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson held a call with the senior players to inform them of the head coach role becoming vacant next year. It is understood that players asked if Schmidt would be staying on.
Schmidt enjoyed unprecedented success in Ireland, winning a PRO12 title and two Champions Cups in his three seasons with Leinster.
He took over the Ireland head coach role in 2013. During his six years in charge of the national side, Ireland won three Six Nations titles, one Grand Slam and claimed 53 wins from 74 Tests.
His tenure ended at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, where he finished with a 72% win ratio and led the side to a maiden victory over the Springboks in South Africa in 2016. He also led the side to two victories over New Zealand – in Chicago and Dublin – and to the top of the World Rankings for the first time in their history.
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