Joe Schmidt: Whatever the decision on Ireland future the focus and goals will not change

Ireland Head Coach Joe Schmidt
Ireland Head Coach Joe Schmidt

Joe Schmidt is expected to confirm later on Monday that he will be leaving his role as Ireland head coach at the end of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

The New Zealander had already confirmed he would make an announcement on his future with Ireland at the backend of the November Test series.

A 57-14 victory in Dublin on Saturday night over the USA ended a clean sweep of victories in the series which included an historic first home win over New Zealand and success also in Dublin over Argentina and a win over Italy in Chicago.

Speculation on Schmidt’s deicison being one to leave this time next year gathered pace on Thursday when he gave an at-times emotional interview to the country’s written Press at the squad’s Carton House training base.

And on Saturday, during his post match review of the USA game Schmidt, whose contract ends at the conclusion of the World Cup in Japan, gave the biggest hint of all that his decision was one to go.

Asked to clarify if he had already informed the IRFU of his decision, Schmidt responded: “A little bit, yeah. And 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 we don’t need to have a conversation, or if we just continue as we are, that’s great.’

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

Unless there is a major change in his decision following brunch with his family yesterday, it is expected Schmidt’s departure will be confirmed today by the IRFU.

However, irrespective of a leaving decision, Schmidt told journalists later that he was committed to getting Ireland past a quarter-final at the World Cup.

Schmidt said: “Either way, the next 11 months is massive, whether it continues beyond that or whether that’s the end point.

“It’s massive. We’ve got the two biggest tournaments we play.

“We’ve got the Six Nations that we’re the defending champs and the World Cup where we’re certainly not the defending champs because we don’t get past the quarter-finals and we’d love to do that.”

Meanwhile, Irish rugby was celebrating a remarkable treble at the World Rugby awards last night.

Johnny Sexton scooped the World men’s player of the year, Schmidt was received coach of the year accolade and Ireland named team of the year.