IRFU chief executive Philip Browne is adamant Ireland will be able to keep progressing even if Joe Schmidt doesn’t sign a new deal.
Since taking charge of Ireland in 2013, Schmidt has guided the country to three Six Nations titles, including the 2018 Grand Slam, a series win in Australia and a famous victory over world champions New Zealand.
The 53-year-old’s impact has been nothing less than sensational and he will be aiming to guide the Irish to World Cup glory for the first time next year, with the major tournament taking place in Japan.
Reports have linked the New Zealander, whose current contract runs until the end of the 2019 WC, with a return home to take up a coaching role with the All Blacks.
Browne has revealed discussions continue to happen between the head coach and IRFU about a potential extension but if Schmidt opts to move on, the chief executive is confident the team can keep heading in the direction they are under someone else.
“A lot of the success is down to Joe, he’s driven a lot of really good things in the Irish game and not just with the national team,” he is quoted as saying in the Irish Independent. “Part of his strength is that he’s built a team that can carry those things on, that can carry them forward.
“And regardless of whether Joe chooses to stay or go, he’d be the first one to tell you that he’s confident that it is sustainable.
We’ve built something that is sustainable and we will be continuing to focus on that.”