Joe Schmidt will make public his post-World Cup future by early next week. Schmidt is contracted with the IRFU until the end of the 2019 World Cup, with the Irish union eager to extend his stay. The decision, therefore, is with the Irish boss.
Given his remarkable achievements with Ireland, Schmidt has been widely tipped as the natural successor to Steve Hansen in his native New Zealand; Hansen himself is going to clarify his future at the end of this year.
At his team announcement for this Saturday's Test with the United States, Schmidt confirmed that his sole focus is on that game, and afterward he will make his final decision. We can expect a public confirmation by the middle of next week.
I'd like to be able to take a deep breath on Sunday, and then...I know I can't continue to go backwards and forwards because I've beaten myself up enough about this decision. I'll be the most pleased of anyone when it is finally made.
— Sinéad Kissane (@sineadkissane) November 22, 2018
Schmidt's team to face the USA features 14 changes from the side that started against the All Blacks. Only Garry Ringrose keeps his place, with Cian Healy and Josh Van Der Flier on the bench.
Joey Carbery and John Cooney are the half-backs, with Will Adisson earning a start at full-back. Andrew Conway and Darren Sweetnam are on the wings, with Stuart McCloskey alongside Ringrose in the centre. Dave Kilcoyne and Finlay Bealham pack down either side of Niall Scannell, Iain Henderson and Tadhg Beirne go to show Ireland's depth in the second row, while the back row features Rhys Ruddock, Jordi Murphy, and Jack Conan. Ruddock is captain.
Rob Herring, John Ryan, Quinn Roux, Luke McGrath, Ross Byrne, and Sammy Arnold are alongside Healy and Van Der Flier on the bench.