Is Joe Schmidt's time at Ireland coming to an end?

Schmidt's future in charge of the Irish rugby team will be dictated by his son's health situation

Is Joe Schmidt's time at Ireland coming to an end?

Image: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Joe Schmidt's time as Ireland head coach may be coming to an end, with his son's health situation factoring in on whether he will extend his stay past the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Ireland return from South Africa having lost the three game Test series and now Schmidt faces a decision as to whether he will stay on as Ireland head coach with talk that he is being readied to take charge at New Zealand.

Steve Hansen, the current All Blacks head coach, will step down after the next World Cup and NZFU Chief Executive Steve Tew named Schmidt as one of the potential replacements.

"Clearly we want to make sure we’re in good shape when Steve leaves, as we were when Graham Henry [the coach for New Zealand's 2011 World Cup success] left," Tew told the Daily Mail.

"We’ve got Ian Foster flying under the radar with an unsurpassable record at international level. He’s the assistant coach and may or may not be a candidate. Then we’ve got other New Zealanders that are coaching at international level in Vern [Cotter], Joe [Schmidt] and Warren [Gatland].

Joe Schmidt with the Six Nations trophy in 2014. Image: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

"There are a couple of others and, somewhere in that grouping, you would hope there’s an All Blacks coach."

Schmidt, who led Ireland to back-to-back Six Nations titles and has a proven track record at club level by winning two Heineken Cups, says that a lot of his decision to stay on in his current capacity or leaving will come down to his son's health situation.

"It’s not really my decision to be honest," he said, "I’ve got a young fella struggling at the moment. That’s just the way it is."