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Published: 16:40 | 27/1/16

I cannot lead Lions - Schmidt

Kiwi says IRFU deal is inflexible

Joe Schmidt says that he cannot be considered for the post of British and Irish Lions head coach in 2017 due to the conditions of his current contract.

It is likely that Schmidt, who currently leads Ireland, would need to take a sabbatical of a year in order to be boss of the Lions ahead of and during the tour of New Zealand.

The former Leinster head coach insists that his deal with the Irish Rugby Football Union would prevent him from taking such a break, leaving Wales boss Warren Gatland as the overwhelming favourite for the Lions role that he successfully filled during the 2013 tour of Australia.

"To be honest, the terms of my current contract don't allow me to do the Lions, so it's actually a moot point," said New Zealander Schmidt.

"It doesn't distract me because it isn't actually something that I can do unless the terms of my contract change."

Schmidt's current deal with the IRFU expires in June 2017, potentially allowing him to be an assistant to countryman Gatland on the tour of the pair’s native land, but the 50-year-old is not looking that far ahead.

"I finish at that time, and there are some outside influences on that that will probably dictate anything beyond that," added Schmidt.

"So, I'm not planning for beyond where my contract finishes, and to be honest, if you're a coach, sometimes you don't even get to the finish of it, because that's the harsh reality - it's a very success-driven environment."

Schmidt and Ireland begin the defence of their Six Nations title at home to Wales on Sunday, February 7.

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