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Ireland boss Schmidt grateful for patience as he makes decision on his future

Ireland boss Schmidt grateful for patience as he makes decision on his future
© Reuters
The Ireland head coach's contract expires after next year's World Cup.

Joe Schmidt has thanked his Ireland bosses for their "patience" while he finalises the decision on his long-term future.

The Ireland head coach's contract expires after next year's World Cup in Japan, and next week he will announce his decision on his long-term movements.

The 53-year-old is expected to return to his native New Zealand after the 2019 World Cup, and is a firm favourite to step into a future All Blacks coaching set-up.

Ireland thrashed the United States 57-14 in Dublin on Saturday to complete a second-straight autumn series clean sweep, with Schmidt afterwards admitting he is very nearly ready to confirm his long-term future plans.

"I'm just incredibly lucky to have the IRFU (Irish Rugby Football Union) with the patience they have," said Ireland boss Schmidt.

"I've committed to a certain time-frame with them and I've stuck to that.

"I've given them an indication and I just need to talk to people tomorrow and that will be made public early next week.

"It might be frustrating for you guys but it's really wrecking my head.

Ireland v New Zealand – Autumn International – Aviva Stadium
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt, right, seen with captain Rory Best, thanked the IRFU for its patience (Brian Lawless/PA)

"They've said, 'don't be rash, if you change your mind we'd love to continue that conversation or if you change your mind another way let's talk about that'.

"They've set out about five different scenarios and have been great with me.

"I'm a small cog in a machine.

"I'm so confident that we have such a great group. The last month has been a huge collective effort, and we've worked really hard."

Andrew Conway's hat-trick steered Ireland to their eight-try victory over the USA, with the hosts showing 14 changes from the stunning 16-9 win over New Zealand.

Jack Conan, Tadhg Beirne, Stuart McCloskey, Quinn Roux and John Ryan all crossed too, as Joe Schmidt's men stopped the Eagles from completing an unbeaten calendar year.

Darren Sweetnam suffered an early back injury which forced Ireland into a total backline reshuffle, denying Joey Carbery the chance for an extended run at fly-half.

Schmidt admitted he was happy with the nature of Ireland's victory, in closing out a November series of four wins on the spin.

"It's a really pleasing result, because the USA are very physical," said Schmidt.

Ireland v USA – Autumn International – Aviva Stadium
Ireland's Rob Herring congratulates Andrew Conway on his try against the United States (Niall Carson/PA)

"We were really conscious that they would be tough going, you don't beat Scotland not have something in the locker.

"Darren Sweetnam's back tightened. He was struggling to run freely.

"He tried to play on but he was pretty uncomfortable. Joey Carbery's versatility is already well-known so we were able to move things around."

The USA head coach Gary Gold hailed Ireland as one of the clear favourites for next year's World Cup.

Wasps v Worcester Warriors – Aviva Premiership – Ricoh Arena
Gary Gold was previously director of rugby at Worcester (Mike Egerton/PA)

Asked to assess just how good Ireland are, Gold replied: "They are up there with as good as I think I've ever seen, no question of a doubt.

"The strength in depth in Irish rugby at the moment is ridiculously healthy.

"It's a massive credit to not only Joe and his coaching staff but also the health of Irish rugby at the moment.

"I've said it for a while now, they are certainly one of the sheer favourites for the World Cup."


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Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt on November 10, 2018
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