Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) CEO Philip Browne feels his country can still win trophies if their coach, Joe Schmidt, decides to move on after the World Cup.
Browne admits it would be “great” if Schmidt stays on in his position after next year’s global showpiece in Japan but said he is confident his organisation have the structures to move forward if Schmidt decides to leave.
“The reality is no one can be indispensable,” he told Sky Sports.
The 53-year-old New Zealander’s current deal with the IRFU expires at the end of the World Cup and he is set to make an announcement about his future plans at the end of the upcoming end-of-year internationals.
Browne outlined the IRFU’s strategic vision for the coming seasons. In the next five years, the IRFU want to win at least two more Six Nations tournaments, be amongst the top three in World Rugby’s rankings consistently and secure a place in a World Cup semi-final, either at the 2019 or 2023 tournaments.
“I think Joe has said he will have a better idea as to where he’s at after the autumn internationals, so I would imagine by the end of the year we’ll be in a position where we know what his plans are,” added Browne.
Browne said the IRFU had not received any approaches from other countries or clubs interested in securing Schmidt’s services.
“My father, in his wisdom, used to say ‘the graveyards are full of people who thought they were indispensable’,” he said.
“The reality is the plan can’t be built around one person, it has to be built around systems, processes and structures.
“The reality is nobody can be indispensable. Having said that, it would be great if Joe stays. Equally, if he goes, we have to deal with it and the best way to deal with it is making sure we have a set of systems and processes in place that are effectively robust and aren’t dependent – we can’t be dependent – on one individual and that’s the reality.
“It’s the reality in most walks of life. Anyone can get run over by a bus and you have to move on, so the reality is discussions are happening with Joe so hopefully, as he has indicated himself, once the November internationalsare over and done with he’ll have some time to think about what he’s doing.”
IRFU performance director David Nucifora echoed the Brown’s confidence and said continuity would be achieved if Schmidt left.
“A lot of the success is down to Joe, he’s driven a lot of really good things in the Irish game, not just in the national team,” said Nucifora.
“But part of his strength is to make sure he’s built a team that can carry those things on, carry them forward. Any good programme has to be sustainable and a lot of work we do is about that, it’s about being sustainable.
“And you know regardless of whether Joe decides to stay or go he’ll be the first one to tell you he’d be confident we’ve built something sustainable and we’ll be continuing to focus on that.”
Story : Planet Rugby