Best urges Schmidt to ex­tend Ir­ish stay

Western Mail - - SPORT -

RORY Best hopes head coach Joe Schmidt will de­cide to com­mit his long-term fu­ture to Ire­land.

Schmidt’s cur­rent Ire­land deal ex­pires af­ter next year’s World Cup in Ja­pan, but the in­de­mand boss has al­ready re­vealed he will make a de­ci­sion about his next move be­fore the end of the cal­en­dar year.

Kiwi coach Schmidt may well opt to re­turn to his na­tive New Zealand for a crack at lead­ing the All Blacks, but Ul­ster hooker Best hopes he could sign on for more with Ire­land.

Best be­lieves Schmidt has trans­formed Ir­ish rugby at ev­ery level and in­sisted his legacy will last for gen­er­a­tions, well be­yond when­ever he calls time on his cur­rent coach­ing stint.

“From a player’s point of view, and even from an Ir­ish rugby fan’s point of view, you want to see the best coaches stay­ing and he’s the best coach I’ve ever worked with,” said Best.

“In my opin­ion he’s one of the best coaches in the world. So that’s who you want in charge of the na­tional team.

“But he has got to do what’s right for him, and if that is a change then his legacy will go on longer than just the sil­ver­ware that sits in tro­phy cab­i­nets.

“I think that what Joe has done for Ir­ish rugby, not just for the na­tional team but Le­in­ster, is ev­i­dent.

“No mat­ter what Joe does, he has changed Ir­ish rugby and how we per­ceive per­for­mance and prepa­ra­tion.

“His legacy will ob­vi­ously be tro­phies, what Le­in­ster have be­come and what Ire­land are push­ing to­wards be­com­ing and have achieved. But it will also be about the coaches that he brings through in years to come.

“You maybe won’t see that yet, per­haps with Paul (O’Con­nell) at Stade. But you’ll prob­a­bly start to see that more and more, as guys have had five, six, 10 years in­volved with him, start to re­tire and start to take up that side of the game. That will prob­a­bly be the last­ing legacy.”

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