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'We hope he hasn't retired'

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'We hope he hasn't retired for good'

At the Six Nations launch on Wednesday, Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt reconfirmed his intention to take a break from coaching after this year’s Rugby World Cup, again ruling his name out of contention as Steve Hansen’s immediate successor with the All Blacks.

Hansen revealed last year that he will step away at the end of the All Blacks’ 2019 World Cup campaign, as will Schmidt with Ireland.

“That is certainly the short-term plan, to not be involved in coaching,” Schmidt told media.

“Certainly not for 12 months and I’d say quite likely longer than that. We have a couple of family-related projects that we want to work our way through. I don’t spend a lot of time at home already, so it’s probably high time I did.”

While Schmidt’s statement of intent didn’t surprise New Zealand Rugby CEO Steve Tew, it didn’t deter him from keeping the Kiwi coach on the radar in the future.

“We’ve always kept in touch with as many of our coaches around the world and here in New Zealand as we can,” Tew said on Thursday, according to Stuff.

“Joe has been in front of some cameras around the Six Nations this week, so he’s reiterated what he said earlier and that is that he wants to have a break.”

“He’s got a commitment to spend more time with his family and we’ll respect that, but as we’ve always said, we hope he hasn’t retired for good.”

All Blacks assistant Ian Foster and Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson have been tipped as favourites to succeed Hansen.

Rugby World Cup City Guides – Kumamoto:

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'We hope he hasn't retired for good'