November 24, 2018 / 10:25 PM / 19 days ago

Ireland's Schmidt hints at departure after World Cup

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Six Nations Championship - England vs Ireland - Twickenham Stadium, London, Britain - March 17, 2018 Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland coach Joe Schmidt hinted on Saturday that he is set to leave the role when his contract ends after next year’s World Cup.

Schmidt, who has been touted as a successor to Steve Hansen as coach of his native New Zealand when both of their contracts expire after the 2019 tournament, has promised to make a final decision on his future early next week.

“I’ve given them (the Irish Rugby Football Union) an indication and I just need to talk to people tomorrow, and early next week it will be made public,” Schmidt told a news conference after his side beat the United States 57-14.

“They (the IRFU) have said don’t be rash, if you change your mind we’d love to continue that conversation or if you change your mind we don’t need to have a conversation or if we just continue as we are, that’s great.’

“So they’ve set out about five different scenarios just in case we can sort something out without too much drama.”

The hugely popular 53-year-old coach has spent the last eight years in Ireland, having coached Leinster before taking the national job and leading Ireland to three Six Nations titles in his five seasons in charge.

After beating the All Blacks for the second time in two years last week, Schmidt will take Ireland to the World Cup in Japan in 10 months time as one of the tournament favourites.

Reporting by Padraic Halpin; editing by Tony Lawrence

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