Ireland coach Joe Schmidt to announce future next week

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'I've beaten myself up over Ireland future' - Schmidt
Autumn international: Ireland v USA
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin Date: Saturday 24 November Kick-off: 18:30 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Ulster MW, BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt says he will reveal next week whether he will commit his long-term future to Ireland or return to his native New Zealand.

Schmidt's Ireland contract expires after next year's World Cup in Japan and the 53-year-old admits he is still agonising about his decision.

"It's a decision that will probably not be finalised until Sunday, certainly by early next week," said Schmidt.

"But it's a decision that's been a long time coming," added the Ireland coach.

"To be honest I've beaten myself up enough about this decision. I'm probably going to be the most pleased of anyone when it is finally made."

Schmidt, who led Ireland to the Grand Slam this year, as well as Six Nations titles in 2014 and 2015, is believed to be front of the queue to step into New Zealand's coaching ranks if he opts to return home.

The Kiwi has masterminded both of Ireland's victories over New Zealand, including Saturday's 16-9 win in Dublin, and guided his team from eighth to second in the world rankings in five years at the helm.

Former Ireland captain Paul O'Connell said the Irish Rugby Football Union should make it "financially irresponsible" for Schmidt to leave his post.

"His coaching style and philosophy is filtering down into all the provinces," O'Connell told Matt Dawson's Rugby Show on BBC Radio 5live.

"It's filtering down into schools and into underage rugby. It's having a massive effect on Irish rugby in general.

"So it's not just the results he delivers with the national team that mean the IRFU gets great value when they pay him whatever they pay him, it's the effect he seems to be having further down the game as well."

Joe Schmidt
Joe Schmidt has led Ireland to three Six Nations titles in five years

Ireland reached the quarter-finals of the 2015 World Cup during Schmidt's tenure but will hope to reach at least the last four for the first time in 2019.

Prior to Saturday's final autumn international against the USA the former Leinster boss conceded he continues to wrestle with what represents perhaps the biggest call of his coaching career.

"I know I can't continue to go backwards and forwards. The family I have probably committed most to is this family that I live with in Carton House (Ireland's training base) as much as it is the family I have at home.

"So we've put our heads together and tried to reconcile how we can best, maybe, cater for both."

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