November 12, 2018 / 1:03 AM / a month ago

Rugby-Hansen open to having chat to Schmidt about NZ job

LONDON, Nov 12 (Reuters) - New Zealand coach Steve Hansen is willing to sit down and have a chat to Ireland’s Joe Schmidt about the pressures of the All Blacks job if he is serious about applying for it.

Both coaches’ contracts expire after next year’s Rugby World Cup and the 53-year-old Schmidt has been touted as successor to Hansen, who has been involved with the team since 2004.

The highly respected and usually taciturn former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw gave Schmidt a ringing endorsement over the weekend.

“If I did have some advice for him I wouldn’t be telling him through the media,” Hansen said in comments reported by Fairfax Media on Monday. “So if he needs my advice on that he will ask me over a cold beer or a cup of coffee.

“He is a smart man, Joe, and will do what is right for his family. I am sure he will make a decision based around those things, like all of us will.”

Schmidt has already said he would make a decision on his future after the November internationals in Europe, and the Ireland Rugby Football Union have acknowledged they have begun to contemplate 2020 without him.

If Hansen decides that 16 years are enough with the team, his current assistant Ian Foster, Schmidt and Wales coach Warren Gatland loom as potential successors.

Gatland’s contract also expires next year and he has said he is returning home to New Zealand.

Hansen and Schmidt will probably avoid each other for much of the coming week as they prepare their sides for the mouth-watering clash between the world’s two top-ranked sides in Dublin on Saturday.

The All Blacks will be without centre Sonny Bill Williams for the game after he injured his shoulder in the first half of their 16-15 victory over England at Twickenham on Saturday.

While the 33-year-old could still be available for the final game of the tour against Italy on Oct. 24, Hansen said Ngani Laumape will join the team in case anyone else got injured.

“There’s a pretty good chance he’ll (Williams) be right for Italy so he’ll stay,” Hansen said.

“But Ngani is coming over to make sure if we lose someone this week we’ve got someone.”

Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Ian Ransom

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