Joe Schmidt missing 'the adrenalin rush' of coaching at the highest level

The Kiwi stepped away from the sport after Ireland's World Cup quarter-final loss to New Zealand in Tokyo last year
Joe Schmidt missing 'the adrenalin rush' of coaching at the highest level

Joe Schmidt admits that he is missing the adrenalin rush that comes with being a coach.

The Kiwi stepped away from the sport after Ireland's World Cup quarter-final loss to New Zealand in Tokyo last year, as he said he would 12 months earlier. In his statement in November of 2018, Schmidt said he was quitting coaching, not just the Irish role, to prioritise his family.

He remains a man in demand. There have been reports since that he has been approached by a number of different clubs in the months and there was a two-week stint in an advisory role with Franck Azema at his old club Clermont Auvergne in February.

“We spent a couple of weeks in Clermont where I was just helping the coaches as a bit of a sounding board and it was nice to be involved on the periphery of a club rugby environment again,” he told 2FM's Game On this evening. “So, I hadn't got right away from it but I hadn't got back into it either.”

Still a resident in Dublin, Schmidt expressed his sadness at the “sobering toll that the virus is having” here in Ireland but thankful for the time he has been able to spend at home with his family when he had been originally due to fly to Hong Kong, London and Lisbon.

An interested spectator at the Ireland-Wales Six Nations match this year, which he attended with his youngest son Luke and senior Leinster coach Stuart Lancaster, he insisted that his own career goals, or lack of them, had not been changed by current global events.

Then again, there was an admission that he misses the sport and the people he worked with while under contract to the IRFU. Schmidt was nothing if not a workaholic as a coach and that obsessiveness seemed to take its toll towards the end of his stint with Ireland.

Now, though? He has had six months to unwind.

“I don't miss the pressure but, as much as I didn't really enjoy the pressure in those matchday circumstances, you invariably ... that adrenalin rush is addictive and you do end up missing it. It's a little bit of a paradox really.”

Whatever his thoughts on coaching again, it is out of his hands for now as the world grapples with the pandemic and its social and economic consequences and Schmidt is of the belief that the virus will have to be more or less contained before cross-border rugby can return.

What the rugby landscape looks like on the back of all this is another thing.

Moves were already afoot to alter the club and test calendars before Covid-19 but finding a new, workable solution for the betterment of all parties in both hemispheres is quite the ask.

“There's no better time for some changes to occur but it is very hard to make changes with a relatively disparate group.

Everybody is going to protect their parochial patch and one of the things up here is that the Six Nations is second to none as far as every tournament is concerned.

“For that to be ring-fenced, that was one of the stumbling blocks in trying to get a global international competition going.

“If they can do it in a club sense, I know teams like Leinster would love to end up playing the Crusaders, for example, if they were the Super Rugby Champions, to climb that final summit, because if they can become kings of the north then people will have a bit of interest in that as well. It is an opportunity to get the interest high and grow the game a bit.”

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