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Ireland coach Joe Schmidt on radar of Kiwi club the Chiefs

By Guy Aspin

Super Rugby outfit the Chiefs have signalled their interest in making Joe Schmidt their new head coach, should he opt not to renew his contract with the IRFU.

Schmidt is currently in New Zealand, where he is expected to decide on his future.

His IRFU contract runs until June 2017 but family issues may well see him return home.

Last month, the Otago Highlanders made it clear that Schmidt was on their radar, and now their Hamilton-based rivals the Chiefs have joined the race.

The Chiefs' current coach is the highly regarded Dave Rennie and although he has two years left on his contract, there is a clause in it that could see him leave after next season'.

Like Schmidt, Rennie is expected to coach the All Blacks in the future, and he has made no secret of his desire to one day coach in Europe.

Current Kiwi coach Steve Hansen is now expected to stay on until the 2019 World Cup, which would mean that Schmidt and Rennie's ambitions of coaching their home country would have to wait for at least a few years.

Schmidt is expected to reveal in the coming weeks whether or not he will stay on with Ireland until the World Cup, and there will be plenty of interest in his signature.

"Joe is definitely a guy we'd be interested in having a discussion with," Chiefs chief executive Andrew Flexman said.

"I've been made aware of the fact there's the potential for him to look at moving home next year and there's been some attention around the Highlanders having some interest in him.

Belfast Telegraph


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