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Published: 22:09 | 17/10/17

McCall rules himself out of Ireland job


Mark McCall has ruled himself out contention for the Ireland head coach job when Joe Schmidt leaves the role.

Schmidt, who signed a new, three-year deal with the Irish Rugby Football Union [IRFU] in October 2016, is set to leave his position after the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

The New Zealander, 52, who has been Ireland's head coach since November 2013, led his adopted country to back-to-back Six Nations Championships in 2014 and 2015, and a first-ever win over the All Blacks in November 2016.

McCall, who has led Saracens to  back-to-back Champions Cups and three Premiership titles, has been linked with the job but the former Ireland international says he wants to stay on as the Aviva Premiership side's director of rugby when his current contract ends in two years' time.

McCall played 13 times for Ireland between 1992 and 1998, before moving into coaching with Ulster in 2004, and leading his native province to the 2006 Celtic League title.

He joined Saracens in 2009-10 to work as first-team coach under Brendan Venter, and was promoted to his current director of rugby role the following season.

"My contract runs out in 2019 and I would like to be here for longer than that," Bangor-born McCall, 49, said ahead of Sarries' Champions Cup tie against Ospreys, which is live on BT Sport 2 on the eir Sport pack on Saturday, 21 October [kick-off 7.45pm].

"We have a good thing going on here and sometimes you have to realise when you have a good thing going. 

"Genuinely, and some people don't believe me, but having done this for a while and being lucky enough to have been at this club at the right time with the squad that we have and the age profile we have got – I want to stay here."

Current British and Irish Lions' head coach Warren Gatland announced on Tuesday that he will not lead the side on the 2021 tour of South Africa, but McCall insists he has no interest in that role either.

"I've never thought about it," he continued.

"I think they've always gone for international coaches and I'm not an international coach. I think there are better people qualified than me to do that job."

The second round of the European Rugby Champions Cup takes place this weekend, and you can watch the best of the action on BT Sport 2 on the eir Sport package. On Friday, 20 October, Pro 14 pacesetters Scarlets meet Premiership side Bath at Pairc y Scarlets on BT Sport 2 [kick off 7.45pm]. On Saturday, 21 October, Top 14 champions Clermont host Northampton [kick-off 3.15pm], while Saracens meet Ospreys later on Saturday evening [kick-off 7.45pm]. On Sunday, 22 October, Wasps face Harlequins in an all-Premiership fixture [kick off 7.45pm].

Image: Getty Images/ David Rogers

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