Steve Hansen has said he is likely to retire in 2017 following the British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand.
That’s the same point at which Schmidt’s current Ireland contract expires, setting up a scenario where Schmidt himself takes charge of the Lions in New Zealand before jumping straight into the opposing dugout.
“I would probably say it is more likely I won’t be there after 2017. If it’s not right for the team, I don’t want to do it,” Hansen said.
“I’d love to coach the All Blacks until the day I die, it’s the best job in the world as far as I am concerned for a rugby coach. But is that right for the team? I wouldn’t think so.”
In addition to Schmidt, Scotland coach Vern Cotter recently extended his contract until 2017, setting up the possibility that New Zealand could have their pick of the two coaches, or even attempt to convince the Kiwi duo to reform their successful Clermont-Auvergne partnership.