Joe Schmidt will decide whether he will coach Ireland to Rugby World Cup 2019 after this summer’s tour to South Africa.
Head coach Schmidt’s current Ireland contract runs until summer 2017, when the former Leinster boss’ services will be in high demand.
Ireland will be keen to keep Schmidt at the helm after the 50-year-old has overseen two Six Nations title wins in three years.
Schmidt could yet seek a Super Rugby coaching role in his native New Zealand and start a lengthy quest to coach the All Blacks, if he chooses not to extend his current Ireland deal however.
“That’s something I’ve committed to making a decision on once we get back from Africa really,” said Schmidt, when asked if he will coach Ireland to Japan 2019.
“It’s really important that there is a clear pathway for players to know that there’s some continuity there, or if that continuity is going to be with someone else, that there’s a span of enough time that they can get the game up and running as they see it best being played.
“I am conscious of my responsibility there.”
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