Joe Schmidt remains among the front runners to succeed Steve Hansen as All Blacks boss following the 2019 World Cup. The New Zealand Rugby Union have revealed they have stayed in regular contact with Schmidt as they prepare for life without Hansen following the tournament in Japan.
Before the start of the Lions tour the organisation also said that they were considering touring coach Warren Gatland for the top job.
Schmidt’s back-to-back Six Nations title successes with Ireland in 2014 and 2015, plus his win over the world champions in Chicago last November, have catapulted him to the front of the queue to take over the country of his birth. Hansen is expected to leave his job in charge of the All Blacks within the next two years, with discussions as to who will succeed him expected to start soon after the current series with the British & Irish Lions.
“You’d have to ask Joe if he wants to apply for the job, but he’s obviously a very good coach,” said New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew.
“We’ve kept in contact with Joe about the job, like we’ve kept in touch with Vern Cotter and others. Where do I start and stop? There’s Jamie Joseph, there’s Warren Gatland, there’s Pat Lam and others and we will consider a number of options. Joe is among those options.
“We’ll be having a conversation with our board in the second half of this year about the process that will run. Then we’ll make that known to everybody once it’s done and dusted.”
Schmidt, who was born in Woodville, New Zealand, has had a hugely successful coaching career in the northern hemisphere with Clermont Auvergne, Leinster and Ireland.
His Ireland contract runs up until the 2019 World Cup – Wales coach and current Lions boss Gatland is in the same position – and that that year is likely to mark a significant reshuffle in international coaching.
Hansen’s current assistant Ian Foster is also in the running to take over the All Blacks, but the world’s best side are already looking at the other options available to them.