Ireland Boss Joe Schmidt Could Be Set For Lions Role
Lions boss Warren Gatland has admitted he could look to bring in Joe Schmidt for the Lions tour of New Zealand next summer.
Schmidt masterminded Ireland’s first victory over the Lions after 111 years of trying this past weekend, and was many people’s choice for the head coach role before Gatland was named.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, Lions boss Gatland said he will be putting his back-room team in place “in the next few weeks” and spoke of his respect for Ireland head coach Schmidt following his side’s historic win over the All Blacks in Chicago last Saturday night.
Gatland noted he was interested in bringing Andy Farrell back after 2013’s success and when asked about Schmidt, Gatland told the Mail:
“There’s an opportunity there as well. Joe has been absolutely fantastic for Clermont, Leinster and now Ireland.
“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.”
Gatland also admitted that Ireland’s win has given the Lions a big boost ahead of the series.
“From a Lions perspective, we’ve got a group of players who’ve got the monkey off their backs and done it,” added Gatland.
“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.
“The All Blacks came back in the second half and I was thinking, ‘Uh oh, here we go’. But 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. As coaches, 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 (Lions) tour have experienced that; beating the All Blacks.”
Should Warren Gatland make it his business to bring Schmidt to New Zealand next summer?