The IRFU are in talks with Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt about extending his contract.

The New Zealander guided Ireland to the Six Nations championship last month and the retention of the title for just the second time in 66 years, but his current deal is due to expire following the World Cup in the Autumn.

The IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne said he hopes the talks will reach a conclusion over the next couple of months.

“We’re in discussions with Joe,” said Browne after yesterday's announcement of Irish Sports Council funding for the IRFU, the FAI, and the GAA at Croke Park.

“He’s just off the back of the Six Nations and he’s been away on holidays and I’m sure those discussions will come to some sort of conclusion over the next couple of months.

“I’d like to have more to say about it and when we do, we’ll say it.”

Schmidt has been widely tipped to be the number one contender to replace All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, whose contract ends in 2017, and the IRFU will be keen to tie up the signature of Schmidt who took over the Ireland reins in 2013 after three years at the Leinster helm, where he won two Heineken Cups.

VIDEO: Hook Pope and O'Shea on Ireland's Six Nations victory