Saturday 20 January 2018

schmidt in talks to stay

Lure of Lions key to 2017 extension

The IRFU have taken the first steps in tying Joe Schmidt down to a long-term contract, as first reported in The Herald last month.

Chief Executive Phillip Browne has openly discussed the start of a process that is by no means a foregone conclusion for probably the most wanted coach in world rugby.

"He's (Schmidt) just off the back of the Six Nations and he's been away and I'm sure those discussions will come to some sort of conclusion over the next couple of months," said Browne.

"It will be what it will be. I'd like to have more to say about it and when we do we'll say it."

In the past, the IRFU have paid the price for agreeing pre-emptive and long contracts with former Ireland coaches Eddie O'Sullivan and Brian Ashton.

Schmidt is in a different category, however, with one more season left on his contract. The recent completion of back-to-back Six Nations Championships has added further to his lustre as a man who delivers silverware for club and country.

The tipping point for the IRFU's negotiations could depend on how much Schmidt would relish the post of British & Irish Lions head coach in his native New Zealand in 2017.

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