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I could return to game in summer: Schmidt

 

By Des Berry

Joe Schmidt could be back in management before the start of next season and the outgoing Ireland head coach says he has been "blown away" by some of the offers made to him already.

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Last November, the New Zea­lander announced his intention to retire from coaching after the World Cup but last night, speaking on the squad's return home at Dublin Air­port, Schmidt said he would consider a return to the game next summer.

"I know I'm not going to do it in the near future," said the 54-year-old, who will be replaced by his assistant Andy Farrell. "I've been blown away by some of the approaches and incred­ibly humbled by them.

"I made a commitment that I'm going to absolutely stick to, through to at least June or July of next year."

That time off will give Schmidt plenty of time to reflect on the dis­appointing final act on his otherwise successful tenure as Ireland's head coach.

Despite finishing on a sour note following Saturday's 46-14 World Cup quarter-final exit to New Zealand, the former Leinster boss insisted he "loved" his time in the job, which delivered three Six Nations Champi­onships, including the 2018 Grand Slam.

"It hasn't been a job, it has been a way of life. It has been seven days a week and I think I can honestly say in six and a half years I've not taken one full day off.

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"There's not one day where I don't think I have either been scribbling notes or watching footage, or getting to a game or doing some coaching. I've loved it."

However, after Ireland's shocking under-performance against New Zea­land, Schmidt admitted he got some of the preparation wrong heading to Japan.

"Maybe we built (the World Cup) into a self-consuming monster," he added.

"We didn't play as well as we could. I have to take responsibility for that. If I had my time over, I might do it a little bit differently."

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