Joe Schmidt: British and Irish Lions coaching role 'not on radar'

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt
Joe Schmidt was appointed Ireland head coach in 2013

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt says coaching the British and Irish Lions is not on his radar as he looks to spend more time with his family following the Rugby World Cup.

New Zealander Schmidt will stand down after the 2019 tournament to take a break from full-time coaching.

He is regarded as a contender to lead the Lions on the tour of South Africa in 2021.

"It's certainly not on the horizon for me," Schmidt told BBC 5 live.

After finishing with Ireland after six years in the role, the 53-year-old plans to shift his focus back towards his family, and has yet to consider further coaching positions.

"It's just a change of focus. It's a bit of 'time on', and that 'on' will be family time," he added.

Schmidt says his primary responsibilities will be towards his teenage son Luke, who has epilepsy.

"We intentionally didn't want to publicise some of the family challenges we have had, just because you have got to respect your kids' privacy even though you have a public job," he explained.

"But it was very much [because of] the push we got from Epilepsy Ireland, so if we could try and normalise it and reduce the stigma that is associated with the disease - which is pretty debilitating for our youngster - then it would help.

"So it's change of direction really. I will be coaching, but I will be coaching one 15-year-old young man to try and work his way through the inter-schools, and overcome some challenges which are a bit beyond the normal kid."

The Lions coach would likely be required to commit to the role from the autumn of 2020 onwards.

If Schmidt was unable to do this, it would leave Warren Gatland as the clear favourite to take charge for a third tour in a row.

Gatland has already had 'informal discussions' about resuming the role, after leading the Lions to unbeaten tours of Australia in 2013 and New Zealand in 2017.

Hear more from Ireland boss Joe Schmidt on the Rugby Union Weekly podcast - a Six Nations preview special - which is out on Monday, 28 January.

Top Stories