Interest in Joe Schmidt from New Zealand teams is increasing.
In the last two months, we've seen the NZRU and Super Rugby champions Highlanders express serious interest in the Ireland head coach, and now there's another team who would love to have Schmidt in charge.
The 2012 and 2013 champions Chiefs are the latest team who want Schmidt to take control. They are currently coached by the highly rated Dave Rennie - whose contract runs out at the end of the 2018 season. Rennie does have a clause that would allow him leave in 2017. But the Chiefs coach has already expressed a desire to move abroad. Put a pin in that thought, but the IRFU should move heaven and earth to get Rennie involved somewhere in Irish Rugby.
Chiefs CEO Andrew Flexman told stuff.co.nz that Schmidt is on their radar to replace Rennie:
Joe is definitely a guy we'd be interested in having a discussion with. I've been made aware of the fact there's the potential for him to look at moving home next year and there's been some attention around the Highlanders having some interest in him.
If he was to return, given his pedigree and personal circumstances and the fact he's coached in the Bay of Plenty, he's certainly a guy we'd love to talk to.
Given what he's achieved in his coaching career if we are looking to appoint a new head coach then he'd be an obvious candidate.
Schmidt's profile was definitely raised in June with the first test victory in South Africa, and how Ireland should have beaten the Boks in all three tests without their best players.
Joe Schmidt is expected to announced his future intentions to the IRFU in the coming months, when he returns from a holiday in his native New Zealand.