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Joe Schmidt to meet the IRFU over Ireland job

Updated: Tuesday, 16 Apr 2013 18:51 | Comments

Joe Schmidt will talk to the IRFU this week about becoming the next Ireland head coach
Joe Schmidt will talk to the IRFU this week about becoming the next Ireland head coach

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Leinster coach Joe Schmidt has confirmed that he will meet with the IRFU this week to discuss taking over the vacant position of Ireland head coach.

Four people are expected to be interviewed by the union this week, with Schmidt the favourite to succeed Declan Kidney.

The New Zealander has also expressed his unhappiness with the decision not to cite Paul O'Connell for his head kick on Dave Kearney, following Saturday's RaboDirect PRO12 derby clash between Munster and Leinster at Thomond Park.

Schmidt told RTÉ Sport: "I'm going to speak to them [the IRFU] this week. I think the job is open at the moment, if they believe I'm a contender, it's something I've also got to reconcile with Leinster, and my commitment here."

The Leinster head coach also revealed that conflict between the New Zealander and the IRFU in the past could also be a potential stumbling block to him taking up the role.

"In world rugby, it would be an attractive post, no doubt," said Schmidt. "But, for me, it's the commitment I've made to Leinster that is one thing.

"I've probably stuggled at times with the IRFU, and they've struggled with me. Inevitably that may be an issue as well.

"I'm going to talk to the IRFU on Wednesday or Thursday, so I'll know a bit more by Friday, hopefully."

Schmidt was keen to emphasise that nothing has been agreed upon with the IRFU as yet.

He said: "It's all speculation at the moment. Once things happen this week it might all become clearer, but I'm not very good at speculation. I've had my head elsewhere, to be honest."

Regarding the decision not to cite O'Connell for his kick to Kearney's head, Schmidt commented: "I think it was more of a case  that Dave Kearney's head had every right to be where it was. 

"He was the player in possession of the ball. He was totally lucid at the time and his head was stable, and he placed the ball beside it. 

"He had every right to be where he was. I'm just surprised. I think all of us understand the quality of Paul O'Connell. I think he's a superb player. I think he's a top-quality bloke.

"It's impossible for us to rule on intent. What we can see is an action that has had 90,000 hits on YouTube. That mothers of kids that we want to play the game are watching.

"And effectively what the citing commissioner has deemed that what happened is acceptable on a rugby field. That it didn't constitute a red card. I just think we're getting into dangerous territory when that's our baseline.

"Post-game: that's not my domain. It was left to Eddie Walsh, the citing commissioner, to determine whether or not it was a citing offence.

"In 12 years of professional coaching, I don't think I've ever seen a contact like that. 

"I think there was some discussion about Leinster players not reacting. At the time they were looking to the referee. They felt maybe Dave had been taken out in the air. 

"If you needed to look at a reaction, have a look at Felix Jones' face, and have a look at Felix Jones' first actions when he sees what happens."

Joe Schmidt was in conversation with RTÉ's Justin Treacy.

Edited by @Tadhg Peavoy

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