Former Ireland Boss Joe Schmidt Linked With Surprise Coaching Role

Next move.

Former Ireland boss Joe Schmidt has been linked with a surprise coaching role with the All Blacks – but not as head coach.

A number of big names including Dave Rennier and Jamie Joseph have dropped out of the running to succeed Steve Hansen in recent weeks with assistant Ian Foster and Crusaders boss Scott Robertson now said to be in a two-way battle to take charge of the three-time world champions.

According to the New Zealand Herald, the decision may come down to the coaching team Foster and Robertson are able to assemble and sources close to the paper suggest Foster will look to bring in Joe Schmidt, John Plumtree and Scott McLeod.

“While Ireland failed to progress beyond the quarterfinals of two World Cups under Schmidt, they did rise to be recognised as the world’s best team last year and the Kiwi mentor remains widely respected for his tactical knowledge of the game,” Liam Napier writes.

Plumtree has previously worked under Schmidt with Ireland as his forwards coach and there’s also talk of Foster bringing in former All Blacks prop Greg Feek who was Schmidt’s scrum coach for five years.

Schmidt has revealed very little about his future since leaving Ireland but did say on Friday night that a return to coaching was inevitable, and gave a timeline of around eight months as he waits for his son to finish school.

And that’s a perfect timeframe that would, potentially, leave him free to join the All Blacks coaching ranks for their next test series in July. He might also be interested in avoiding the pressures of a head coach role as plots his next move.

Robertson meanwhile is expected to bring Crusaders forwards coach Jason Ryan with him and is believed to have approached Blues coach Leon MacDonald about joining him should he get the role.