Glasgow’s gain, could be Ireland’s loss.
It was revealed last week that Scotland head coach Vern Cotter would be stepping down from his role next year, with Glasgow’s Gregor Townsend succeeding him. Shortly after it was revealed that Townsend would be replaced by the Chief’s head coach, Dave Rennie.
Glasgow’s surprise hire of of the two-time Super Rugby winning coach now seems likely to have a direct effect on Irish rugby with Joe Schmidt emerging as the favourite to succeed him.
Schmidt has emerged as clear target for the Chiefs with his Ireland future uncertain due to family reasons. The Highlanders initially jumped the gun by revealing they’d approached the Irish coach but it is understood he is more likely to end up in Hamilton from 2018.
Chiefs chief executive Andrew Flexman said as much in an interview with the Sunday Star-Times early last month.
“Joe is definitely a guy we’d be interested in having a discussion with,” Flexman said at the time, with discussions now expected to be under way. “I’ve been made aware of the fact there’s the potential for him to look at moving home next year.
“Given what he’s achieved in his coaching career if we are looking to appoint a new head coach then he’d be an obvious candidate.”
Vern Cotter is also reportedly in the running for the position but it is believed Schmidt will be given first refusal and it may be too tempting a role for him to turn down.