Ireland’s new boss Schmidt hopes to convince O’Driscoll to continue

Ireland's new head coach Joe Schmidt says he wants to deter Brian O'Driscoll from international retirement at his unveiling on Monday

brian o'driscoll
Brian O'Driscoll scored a try in Leinster's Amlin Cup win on Sunday Photo: Paul Walsh

Joe Schmidt admits his first challenge as Ireland’s new head coach will be convincing veteran Brian O’Driscoll to extend his international career.

The New Zealander was unveiled as Declan Kidney’s successor at the helm of Irish rugby on Monday, with the 56-year-old expected to pen a three-year deal.

O’Driscoll is yet to make a decision about his Ireland future with the centre in line for a British and Irish Lions call-up after impressing in Leinster’s Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final win against Biarritz.

And Schmidt, who will leave the three-time Heineken Cup winners at the end of the season, is hoping to deter Ireland’s No13 from calling time on his international career.

“He’s put some pressure on me, so I’d certainly like to put some pressure on him. The one thing with Brian is he’s very much his own man, he’ll make his own decision,” Schmidt told a new conference at the Aviva Stadium on Monday.

“But at the same time it doesn’t stop you trying to push him toward one, and so I’d like to see him continue.

“I’d love to see him named tomorrow, and I think that would be a continuation of a stellar career, and hopefully not the end of one.”

Schmidt also revealed he is yet to identify who the two-time Heineken Cup-winning coach wants to recruit for his Ireland backroom staff, with the New Zealander’s focus still on Leinster’s remaining games in the RaboDirect PRO12 and Amlin Challenge Cup.

“I’ve just got my own details today, so it’s a little bit hard to predict anything further ahead at this stage,” added Schmidt.

“We [Leinster] had a pretty big game on Saturday [in the Amlin Challenge Cup semi-finals] and that was a massive focus for me last week.

“At this stage, being new in the role, I’d like to take the next four to six weeks, because even in that four to six weeks we’ll still have a number of things that we’ll have to do in a Leinster framework.”

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