JOE SCHMIDT SAYS spending more time with his family is one of the primary reasons why he will take a step back from coaching after next year’s World Cup, but refused to rule out a return to work at some point in the future.
The Kiwi — today named as Philips Sports Manager of the Year for 2018 — admitted his decision to leave his post as Ireland head coach is ‘tough enough to come to terms with’, but is looking forward to spending more time at home.
Schmidt at today’s awards lunch in Dublin. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO
“For me, there is the older generation and my son [Luke] the younger generation that will take up a lot of time in those 12 months post finishing,” he said at Dublin’s InterContinental Hotel this afternoon.
“I’m looking forward to that as a different sort of challenge because I don’t get home very often. I’m away a lot and in the coming year I’m going to be out of the home for more days than I am in the home.
“It’s a tough enough decision to come to terms with. For me I’m just fully focused on the next 11 months It couldn’t be a bigger 11 months for us. We’ve got England in seven and a half weeks. I’m pretty good at shortening the focus. As a group we just want to roll our sleeves up and stay as competitive as we can.”
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Schmidt, speaking after collecting the award for the second time, having previously won it in 2014, said the Ireland coaching team — including his successor Andy Farrell — will ensure the legacy continues after his departure.
“With Simon [Easterby] and Andy and Richie [Murphy] — they are so competent. I think they will do a great job. There are all sorts of up sides to it.”
It was earlier reported that Schmidt refused an offer from New Zealand Rugby to join Steve Hansen’s All Blacks coaching team last year, instead choosing to sign a two-year contract extension with the IRFU at the time.
The 53-year-old added: “I would say it is difficult not to stay where I am. It’s difficult not to keep doing what I am doing with a fantastic group of people. Whatever decision you make you never say never but you’re always trying to be the best you can in a very short term you have left. For me, that’s 11 months. I’m not looking any more forward than that.”
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