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Joe Schmidt: I will try to get Brian O'Driscoll to play on for Ireland

Updated: Monday, 29 Apr 2013 19:53 | Comments

Joe Schmidt has signed a three-year contract as Ireland head coach
Joe Schmidt has signed a three-year contract as Ireland head coach

By Tadhg Peavoy

New Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has revealed that he will attempt to convince Brian O'Driscoll to play on for another season.

Speaking at his unveiling at a press conference at Aviva Stadium, Schmidt stated that he wants O'Driscoll to play on in the green of Ireland, but that the decision ultimately lies with the former Ireland captain.

He said: "He's put some pressure on me, so I'd certainly like to put some pressure on him. The one thing with Brian is he's very much his own man, he'll make his own decision.

"But at the same time it doesn't stop you trying to push him toward one, and so I'd like to see him continue.

"I'd love to see him named tomorrow, and I think that would be a continuation of a stellar career, and hopefully not the end of one."

The New Zealander also stated that he hopes to assemble his backroom team over the next four to six weeks as he finishes off his coaching duties with Leinster in the RaboDirect PRO12 and Amlin Challenge Cup.

"I've just got my own details today, so it's a little bit hard to predict anything further ahead at this stage," said Schmidt.

"We [Leinster] had a pretty big game on Saturday [in the Amlin Challenge Cup semi-finals] and that was a massive focus for me last week.

"At this stage, being new in the role, I'd like to take the next four to six weeks, because even in that four to six weeks we'll still have a number of things that we'll have to do in a Leinster framework."

Schmidt also gave Ireland interim head coach Les Kiss his full backing as he prepares to take control of the Ireland squad for the summer tour to the US and Canada.

"I know Les [Kiss] reasonably well. I worked with him a little bit and we tried to get him in to Leinster when I first started" - Joe Schmidt

"I know Les reasonably well. I worked with him a little bit and we tried to get him in to Leinster when I first started," said Schmidt.

"I think he's incredibly capable and I'm pretty busy in the next four weeks, that allows Les the opportunity to get a team together.

"Les has spoken to me a couple of times anyway in my role as Leinster coach to let me know who's involved at this stage, and who's in the wider reckoning.

"We've got to wait until a couple of names get pulled out of the hat at 11 o'clock tomorrow [at the British and Irish Lions squad announcement], and the more that get pulled out the better.

"And then Les has a pretty good list of who else is available to maybe tour North America, and also go on the development tour to Georgia."

There had much speculation that Schmidt would not take on the role with the IRFU, given that he wanted to return home to the Land of the Long White Cloud where his daughter is currently studying.

His eldest son is currently studying at Terenure College in Dublin, and his youngest son suffers from severe epilepsy, and it would appear Schmidt's family feel it is beneficial overall that he continues his career in Ireland.

"I think part of it is the flexibility. The [international playing] windows are suffocating, but in between the windows there is a little bit more scope to maybe get back and forth [to New Zealand]," said Schmidt.

"Obviously I've got a daughter that's back in New Zealand, she is studying, at least she tells me she is, and I hope she is.

"And so at this stage it's nice to be able to get backwards and forwards to see family.

"But I would have to say my family were part of the decision.

"They're very settled here. Obviously it would have helped if Terenure had won the [Leinster] Senior Cup, but my son's got over that disappointment now.

"He's going to have another try next year and my daughter is enjoying school.

"I've spoken out lately about my younger son. He's looked after superbly at Statford National School and that was a big part of our decision making as well, because inevitably it is a family decision."

Following the summer tour to North America, the Ireland senior side next take to the field in the autumn internationals, and a first Schmidt-coached Ireland side will take to the field against Samoa at Aviva Stadium on 9 November.

@TPeavoy

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