Rugby: Former Ireland coach, All Blacks assistant Joe Schmidt reportedly weighs options over head coach role

He was seen as out of contention, but former Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has emerged as a potential All Blacks coach.

Last week, incumbent Ian Foster revealed he wouldn't re-apply for the role after the World Cup, seemingly leaving the contest between Crusaders mentor Scott Robertson and Japan coach Jamie Joseph.

Schmidt, one of Foster's current assistants, has emerged as a possible late contender. 

When he left Ireland in 2019, being the head coach of another national team seemed unlikely, but from Blues assistant to All Blacks selector, and now part of Foster's staff, the path to New Zealand rugby's top job has become clearer.

"That's maybe someone you'd go to and say, 'Listen Joe, maybe think about it', because the more options you've got the better," said former All Black Sir John Kirwan on Sky Sport's Breakdown

What once appeared a two-horse race to replace Foster has now had a potential bolter emerge, with Schmidt considering applying for a promotion.

Senior All Black Rieko Ioane knows he could do it.

"Schmidty's a top bloke and I've got nothing but praise for the man. He's more than capable."

Ioane is also a fan of current Blues coach Leon MacDonald, who also has a decision to make. He's seen as a potential kingmaker in the All Blacks coaching race and Newshub understands his allegiances aren't locked in.

Leon MacDonald and Joe Schmidt at Blues training.
Leon MacDonald and Joe Schmidt at Blues training. Photo credit: Photosport

What would MacDonald bring to an All Blacks group?

"Just what he's brought to the Blues," said Ioane. "He’s a codehead through and through." 

He's a codehead who could also become Scotland's next head coach.

For now, MacDonald and his current side have to right the wrongs of the weekend's loss to the Brumbies.

"A tough review, but a good one," said Ioane.

NZR may also be the one soon reviewing more than what they anticipated.