Schmidt on Chiefs’ radar

Date published: July 11 2016

Chiefs chief executive Andrew Flaxman has revealed that he is keen to speak to Ireland coach Joe Schmidt about coaching the Hamilton-based outfit.

Schmidt's contract with Ireland comes to an end in 2017 and Flaxman suggested that the New Zealand-born coach could return to the country of his birth by 2018.

Current Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie plans to further his coaching career overseas when his contract finishes at the end of the 2017 Super Rugby season.

The Highlanders also expressed interest Schmidt's services to take over from Tony Brown as head coach in 2018. Brown takes over as Highlanders head coach next year but will join former Highlanders boss Jamie Joseph as an assistant coach for Japan at the 2019 World Cup.

But Flaxman is keen for Schmidt to join the Chiefs, who are currently sitting at the top of the table in Super Rugby's Australasian group.

"Joe is definitely a guy we'd be interested in having a discussion with," he told the Irish Times.

"I've been made aware of the fact there's the potential for him to look at moving home next year and there's been some attention around the Highlanders having some interest in him."

A return to New Zealand would also put Schmidt in contention for the All Blacks coaching job. New Zealand Rugby would prefer to promote from their Super Rugby sides but Schmidt's international experience could also count in his favour. 

"If he was to return, given his pedigree and personal circumstances and the fact he’s coached in the Bay of Plenty, he’s certainly a guy we’d love to talk to,” added Flaxman. 

"Given what he’s achieved in his coaching career if we are looking to appoint a new head coach he’d be an obvious candidate."