Given that he has won two consecutive Six Nations with Ireland, of course Joe Schmidt has been mentioned as a Lions head coach candidate for the tour of New Zealand in 2017.
If Schmidt wants the job, and gets it, he will be required to take time out from coaching Ireland.
Lions manager John Spencer told ESPN that whoever gets the job will need to 'give 100 per cent of their time'.
We would expect them to give 100 per cent of their time to the Lions. That would be the best preparation and we are looking for best principles.
When Warren Gatland took the job for the 2013 tour of Australia, he took a 10 month sabattical from his role as Wales head coach. However, he did work with Wales during the 2012 November internationals.
Schmidt, whose current Ireland deal elapses in June of 2017, would likely have to miss the 2017 Six Nations if he is named Lions coach. There is, of course, the possibility that Schmidt will have extended his contract by that time.
Considering that the tour is of his native country, and you would have to think that he has ambitions of one day coaching the All Blacks, it would be a major opportunity for Schmidt to raise his profile in New Zealand.
The successful applicant will be named at some point towards to end of this summer.
Asked about the possibility of Warren Gatland retaining the job, Spencer was fairly coy on the matter.
I couldn't say if Warren is in a strong position. We have to keep an open mind until the last minute and look at teams in the Six Nations and summer tours.
He has obviously been very successful. As far as the New Zealand tour is concerned it is a blank sheet. Everyone has to have a first tour.
If you get into the lions culture and values you can understand it pretty well from scratch.
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