Joe Schmidt says no commitment made to the Highlanders

The Irish rugby coach says he is fully focused on Ireland

Joe Schmidt says he has made no commitment to the Highlanders in New Zealand despite the fact that the club's CEO Roger Clarke confirmed he had made contact with the current Irish rugby coach.

Clarke informed media in New Zealand of contacting top coaches abroad and said he "talked to all of them to see what their thinking is around coming back to New Zealand and also coaching the Highlanders."

Schmidt's contract with the IRFU runs until 2017 and the comments made by Clarke were in relation to a possible move in 2018 when the position at the club opens up but Schmidt says he is remaining focused on the current three-match test series against South Africa and will inform the organisation of his plans after that.

He remained adamant that no commitment was made and that the men only had one conversation, “No, that was on the back of one conversation that Roger Clark had with me and I have made absolutely no commitment to the Highlanders.

"I’ve made no commitment to anyone other than my current employers,” he continued.

The Kiwi then projected into the future saying he wanted to leave Irish rugby in the best place he could, “Whatever happens, this is the full focus of my attention and the one thing I want to do no matter what happens in the future is I want to leave Irish rugby in as good a shape as possible.

“If that’s this time next year or if it’s in three years’ time, I’m not sure. All I know is that this is something we’ve got to try to do and we’re investing a lot of time and effort into, are the players, into trying to be as good with a broader group as we possibly can be."