24 Jan 2019

Rugby: Joe Schmidt and the luck of the Irish

12:22 pm on 24 January 2019

Joe Schmidt thinks he would be pushing his luck by seeking a coaching role with New Zealand after this year's rugby World Cup.

Sought-after Schmidt plans at least a 12-month break when he relinquishes his role as Ireland head coach after the World Cup in Japan.

The 53-year-old has the pedigree to replace New Zealand boss Steve Hansen, who will call time on his Test tenure after the tournament.

But while Schmidt left the door open on a possible British and Irish Lions coaching role in 2021, the former Leinster boss insisted he has no pretensions to the All Blacks' gig this year.

"Not really. I don't want to bore you with the whole history of it but I'm an incredibly accidental coach.

"I started coaching when I first started teaching at Palmerston North Boys' High.

Ireland rugby coach Joe Schmidt.

Ireland rugby coach Joe Schmidt. Photo: Photosport

"I said, 'look, I'd love to coach basketball' and the rector Dave Sims said, 'that's brilliant, that's on Friday nights, it won't affect your rugby coaching on Saturday mornings'.

"It wasn't an intended career and I just have a few priorities that reshaped my thinking a little bit.

"At the same time, to be honest, you can't keep riding your luck.

"I've had an unbelievable time in the game, whether it be with Bay of Plenty in the Ranfurly Shield or even when we finished up with the Blues with that last (Super Rugby) semi-final.

"Then the Bouclier du Brennus (Top 14 trophy) in France and with Leinster, and now with Ireland; I think you've got to run out of luck at some stage.

"The short-term plan is not to be involved in coaching, certainly not for 12 months," said Schmidt, who is preparing for the start of Ireland's Six Nations title defence against England in Dublin on February 2.

"We've got a couple of projects that are family-related that we want to work our way through."

However, Schmidt did leave the door open for a potential future role with the Lions, who next tour South Africa.

"I said to my wife that we'd get these 12 months done and she said, 'Yeah, look, you'll last 12 days, potentially, without needing to do something'."