Saturday 16

Rugby Union

Schmidt not interested in Lions post

25th January 2019, 13:57 by Chris Rivers

Ireland boss Joe Schmidt has ruled himself out of the running to coach the British & Irish Lions for their 2021 tour.

The 53-year-old has proven to be a huge hit since taking charge of the Irish, guiding them to three Six Nations titles, including the Grand Slam in 2018, while they have also beaten world champions New Zealand twice under his stewardship.

Schmidt will step down from his current role after this year's World Cup and has said he plans to take a year out of rugby to spend more time with his family.

To be eligible to take charge of the Lions for their trip to South Africa in 2021, Schmidt would have to commit to the role by the autumn internationals of 2020. However, Schmidt says he won't be taking on any new work next year as he focuses on his son, who has been diagnosed with epilepsy.

"It's certainly not on the horizon for me," Schmidt told BBC 5 live. "It's just a change of focus. It's a bit of 'time on', and that 'on' will be family time.

"We intentionally didn't want to publicise some of the family challenges we have had, just because you have got to respect your kids' privacy even though you have a public job," he explained.

"But it was very much because of the push we got from Epilepsy Ireland, so if we could try and normalise it and reduce the stigma that is associated with the disease - which is pretty debilitating for our youngster - then it would help.

"So it's change of direction really. I will be coaching, but I will be coaching one 15-year-old young man to try and work his way through the inter-schools, and overcome some challenges which are a bit beyond the normal kid."

With Schmidt out of the running, Wales coach Warren Gatland will be the favourite to be handed the Lions jobs for the third tour in succession.

This article originated on sportinastorm.com

Chris Rivers is an experienced reporter who closely follows both Arsenal and Wales Rugby Union team. As well as in-depth football and rugby knowledge, Chris is an avid American Football, Formula One and boxing fan.

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