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Joe Schmidt's Contract Won't Allow Him Coach Lions In 2017

Joe Schmidt's Contract Won't Allow Him Coach Lions In 2017
By Conor O'Leary
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It may be two seasons away, but attention is already turning to the upcoming Lions tour in 2017. For the majority of onlookers, the opening weekend of this year's Six Nations provides a glimpse into the two main coaching candidates for the gig.

Joe Schmidt, off the back of back-to-back Six Nations titles is considered the biggest challenger to Warren Gatland to be the head coach - and the wisdom seems to be that the winner this year will have the best chance to lead the Lions in Schmidt and Gatland's home country.

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Apparently though, Joe Schmidt isn't eligible to coach the Lions in 2017. Not according to his current IRFU contract. Schmidt signed a one-year extension just before the World Cup, which ties him to the IRFU until 2017 - just when the Lions are about to embark on the tour. We do know that the Lions will require the head coach take a year to prepare for the tour, which would mean that Schmidt's one year extension would become moot.

Should Schmidt want to coach the Lions it would mean that he'd need to be completely released from his contract - which seems unlikely - or he'd have to sign a new extension which would include a clause that would give him the option.

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Until that happens, it appears full steam ahead for Warren Gatland to take control once more.

See Also: Joe Schmidt's Contract Is Likely To Prevent Him From Being Lions Head Coach

See Also: If Joe Schmidt Wants The Lions Job, He'll Have To Take Time Out From Coaching Ireland

Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

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