2013 British & Irish Lions
Schmidt denies Lions talks
ESPN Staff
August 28, 2012
Leinster coach Joe Schmidt barks some instructions, Leinster v Cardiff Blues, Heineken Cup quarter-final, Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland, April 7, 2012
Joe Schmidt has moved to quash rumours that he will be part of the Lions set-up © Getty Images

Leinster boss Joe Schmidt has denied that he has been approached about a possible role in the 2013 British & Irish Lions coaching team.

Reports at the weekend suggested that Warren Gatland, who is widely perceived to be the favourite to lead the Lions on their tour of Australia, was interested in adding Schmidt to his coaching set-up for the tour. Fellow Wales coaches Shaun Edwards and Rob Howley are understood to be linking up with Gatland while Graham Rowntree is also likely to get the nod. But while Schmidt claims it be an honour to be a part of the Lions tour, claims that he is yet to hear from them.

"I'd be flattered if they were interested in me," Schmidt told the Irish Independent. "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.

"Whoever gets that role, it would be a fantastic opportunity. I can categorically say I haven't been approached. But I don't think it's going to be me."

Schmidt led Leinster to Heineken Cup glory last term and has an impressive CV. But he thinks that Howley's experience of coaching Wales while they were on tour to Australia last summer puts him in good stead for a spot on the tour.

"It would be fantastic for anyone to be involved," said Schmidt. "I thought Wales did a great job down there 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."

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