Highlanders want Ireland coach Schmidt

The Highlanders want Ireland coach Joe Schmidt

Highlanders chief executive Roger Clark has confirmed that he has spoken to Ireland coach Joe Schmidt about coaching the Super Rugby franchise in 2018.

The Highlanders have appointed current assistant coach Tony Brown for 2017 after which he will join current coach Jamie Joseph in coaching Japan.

Clark has told Newstalk ZB that he made contact with Schmidt as well as several other overseas-based Kiwi coaches about returning to New Zealand and coaching locally.

All Black coach Steve Hansen is expected to stand down after 2019 and Clark believes that this will encourage foreign coaches to return home and put themselves in contention for the national side.

“I’ve gone round and deliberately contacted coaches like Schmidt overseas to see what their thinking is around coming back to New Zealand and also coaching the Highlanders,” Clark said.

“They’re all looking at the opportunities looking towards then (2019). ”

“They know they’ve got to be coaching Super Rugby and they know there’s not too many options in Super Rugby because we’ve got a number of coaches that are locked in until ’19 now.”

Schmidt is a globally respected coach but made his name in Europe coaching Leinster to back-to-back European titles before taking charge of Ireland coaching them to back to back Six Nations titles.

Schmidt is a former Bay of Plenty coach and was also a Blues assistant coach in Super Rugby.

Schmidt’s Ireland contract runs until next year and he has indicated that he wants to return home for family reasons but Ireland will be doing their best to extend his contract through to the 2019 World Cup.

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