Joe Schmidt's stock continues to rise in New Zealand, as we approach the big announcement concerning his future with the IRFU. However, New Zealand rugby commentator Tony Johnson has explained why it is not quite as simple as some fans might presume.
Johnson was speaking on Balls.ie's new rugby show, World in Union, a rugby programme getting the outside perspective on the sport and the Irish team. When asked whether there was a serious appetite to have Schmidt return to New Zealand, Johnson was emphatic in his response.
Too right we'll have him back, you would be mad not to!
The only thing is, it would be very arrogant of New Zealanders just to assume that Joe Schmidt is prepared to drop everything he has got going for him over there and come back to New Zealand at the drop of a hat to be coach of the All Blacks. I think he has got a lot of reasons why he might want to stay right where he is beyond the next World Cup.
"We have to find out what Steve Hansen's plans are and I think that is important. I think we need some clarity there. Look, New Zealand has done very well out of succession planning, both in terms of players and coaching staff. We have always had the next generation ready to go.
"I am just starting to wonder that maybe the results this year would suggest it is time for a change, don't get me wrong Hansen is a fantastic coach."
"It would be very arrogant of New Zealanders to just presume Joe Schmidt is prepared to drop everything he has got going for him over there"? On this week's World In Union show, Tony Johnson told us about the desire to have Schmidt back in New Zealand! pic.twitter.com/UIu3CNngi6
— Balls.ie (@ballsdotie) November 19, 2018
However, he stressed that if it were up to him, Ireland's head coach would swap hemispheres and take charge after Steven Hansen.
"I personally feel I would love to see Joe Schmidt back in New Zealand coaching the All Blacks, he can bring Andy Farrell with him if he likes! Because I just wonder whether it might be time for a change of thinking."
You can watch the full show, which includes our team of the November Internationals so far and "the big question" that Ireland need to answer here, or podcast the show through the Balls.ie feed.