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Published: 11:15 | 18/3/16

Schmidt to decide future in the summer

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt says he will decide on his future after the three-match tour to South Africa this summer.

The New Zealander, who is contracted until the summer of 2017 after agreeing a one-year contract extension last July, will discuss his future with the Irish Rugby Football Union [IRFU] after the tour ends on 25 June.

“I’ve committed to making a decision once we get back from South Africa. It’s really important that there is a clear pathway for players to know that there’s some continuity there or, if that continuity is going to be with someone else, that there’s a span of enough time that they can get the game up and running as they see it best being played,” Schmidt said.

“I am conscious of my responsibility. There are some factors outside of rugby that tend to dictate for me [and] we’ll be a little bit further down the track with some of those decisions as well.”

The 50-year-old led Ireland to back-to-back Six Nations Championship wins in his first two years in charge, but his side underachieved in the 2015 World Cup, going out to Argentina at the quarter-final stage, and have struggled in this year's Six Nations, losing to England and France and drawing with Wales

However, Ireland out-half Johnny Sexton insists Schmidt retains the supports of the players and wants the former Leinster coach to remain in the role until the 2019 World Cup.

“All we know is that he’s here for next year. We had big goals this year. We were trying to go three [Six Nations titles] in a row. We’ve still got big goals, trying to create history. We’re got three chances to do that in South Africa and two against New Zealand. Then, we have another crack at the Six Nations next year,” Sexton said.

“There is still plenty of rugby to be played with Joe in charge. I hope he’s here until at least the next World Cup. That’s what everyone in the squad would hope. We feel that we’re building something towards that."

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Jonathan Sexton has been confirmed fit to play against France in this Saturday's Six Nations clash at Lansdowne Road.

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The IRFU have confirmed that Ireland will play the USA in New Jersey in June.

Bastareaud out of Ireland clash

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Woodward calls for Six Nations relegation

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Former England head coach Clive Woodward has called for the introduction of promotion and relegation to the Six Nations tournament.

Keane named Connacht head coach

18:37 | 20/2/17

Former All Black Kieran Keane will join Connacht as head coach ahead of the 2017-18 season.

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