Leinster coach Joe Schmidt admits he would be interested in a position within the British and Irish Lions management squad for next summer’s tour of Australia.
“I’d be flattered if they were interested in me,” declared Schmidt. “I played with and against Warren a little bit when we were a lot younger men.
“He’s also coached the Chiefs when I coached the Blues, so we’ve obviously gone head-to-head in the past.
“I can categorically say I haven’t been approached. Whoever gets that role, it would be a fantastic opportunity, but I don’t think it’s going to be me.”
Schmidt expects the Lions’ coach, widely expected to be Warren Gatland, to go with one attack-minded coach and he believes Rob Howley to have the greatest claims.
Gatland and Howley have worked together with Wales, and with Howley taking charge of the squad’s recent tour of Australia Schmidt doesn’t see any need for himself to be involved.
However, there would be no great uproar if Gatland were to take two attacking coaches to Australia next year, though Schmidt believes it unlikely.
The New Zealander commended Howley’s performance with Wales in Australia and he expects the former Lion to prove an integral part of Gatland’s coaching set-up.
“It would be fantastic for anyone to be involved,” added Schmidt. “I thought Wales did a great job down there (in Australia) this summer. They didn’t quite get the results but the rugby was very, very competitive. It was quite open and good viewing.
“As an adjunct to that, Rob Howley was down there looking after things because Warren had broken his heels and he did a pretty good job. He oriented himself well.
“He learned a little about the Australian rugby climate and some of the key players that they have, so he’d be well-placed to go back down there, I would think.
“He’s obviously got a working relationship with the man who looks like he’s going to be named the next Lions coach. It would be a fantastic opportunity for anyone who’s involved in that group.”