The IRFU would like to retain the services of Joe Schmidt as Ireland head coach through until the 2019 World Cup but have back up plans in place should he refuse an extension.
Schmidt’s current contract expires on 30 June 2017 at it’s believed he may choose to return home to New Zealand after a six-year spell in Ireland, citing family reasons.
IRFU performance director David Nucifora is confident that there is enough “coaching intellect” in Ireland to provide a number of options.
“We are gradually building a fairly strong group of coaches in the country and we’d have a number of alternatives to look at if we had to move it forward,” said Nucifora yesterday.
“Other than Les Kiss moving into Ulster we’ve managed to sign all of our national coaches on to longer-term contracts post the World Cup, we’ve brought Andy Farrell into the mix and you’re aware of all the other coaches we’ve got around the country.
“I feel we have a strong talent pool of coaches that we’re building and that puts us in a good position.
“Do we want Joe to stay? Absolutely, we’d like him to stay and commit right through until 2019.
Nucifora also noted that Schmidt is under no obligation to inform the IRFU of a decision on whether to extend his contract this summer. He stated Schmidt may wait until closer to the 2017 Six Nations to make a decision.
There has also been talk of Schmidt being offered the Lions job, forcing him to take a year away from Ireland. Nucifora is of the understanding that Schmidt will only accept an offer should he sign a contract extension with Ireland.
If Joe decides to take on the Lions job, he will already have made his decision that he’s staying through until 2019, that will automatically be in place,” said Nucifora [The42.ie]